- Developer: Timothy van der Hoeven
- Publisher: Timothy van der Hoeven
- Release date: 8/10/2020
- Price: £4.49 / $4.99
- Review code provided by Timothy van der Hoeven
Introducing: Juiced! Switch Review
I think that platformers are likely one of my favourite genres of gaming. There’s something just satisfying about moving through a game’s world, sometimes a little mindlessly, and following what – often little – story there is easily. I consider them to be my perfect game to unwind with, maybe playing a little before bed to ease myself into a restful state. When I had the chance to add another level-based platformer to my switch library, I was happy to take a look.
Three Crystals to Save the World
Juiced! is about Tiko, a treasure hunter out in the vast void of space. He ends up landing and stumbling across a shrine of sorts, within which he finds 3 crystals. However, the moment that he finds them, they are stolen by a bubble. He gives chase onto a ship, where he learns that they are going to be used for nefarious purposes. Unfortunately, after stealing them back he then takes a tumble from the ship to the planet below, dropping the crystals in the process. Now, he has to collect all three again so that they cannot fall into the wrong hands.
It’s as simple as you can get in terms of a platformer plot. Collect the mcguffins before the bad guys can, and return them to their rightful place in order to save the universe. We’ve seen this a hundred times before, but I think it’s the character design of Tiko that makes this a little bit funnier to me. He’s just this little tiny bean man, who is much smaller than everything else in the world. It gives this great little David and Goliath vibe, especially when the bosses are much bigger than you by the time you reach the third one. At it’s core, Juiced! is just doing it’s best at being a homage to a bygone era of platforming games.
One Adventure to Find Them
The action here is fairly standard for a platformer; the moving and jumping mechanics feel great and responsive. This is one of those platformers where moving along just feels good. It includes the classic hold-the-button-for-a-longer-jump, but the addition of a double jump really gives you the tools that you need to save yourself. However, I think there is just a little too much power given to the player with how many ways they are able to defend themselves. There is your typical jumping on enemy heads, of course, but you are also able to fire different (and often extremely powerful) projectiles, that can be picked up throughout the stages, at enemies. Additionally there is the system from which the game gets its name. Collecting fruit will fill up the juice meter, and then it’s simply a case of triggering the “Juiced” state whenever you like. While in this state, it’s much like when you have a star in Mario where the sheer might of your touch is able to kill anything in your path. However, the ability to activate this at any time makes it less situational and more of a quick and easy get-out-of-jail card the moment you think something is going wrong. Due to this, the only time that I actually died was a flub on my part in the platforming, or in boss fights where I didn’t yet know the patterns of the boss.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not fun to be able to blast away every enemy in my path, and I had a lot of fun with this game. For how low the price is, there is a lot of content here. There are plenty of levels and finishing each one unlocks both a hat for Tiko to wear and the option to do a time trial for the level and test your skills. The hats are unnecessary, but super fun, as an addition since most of them look absolutely ridiculous given their size in comparison to our very small protagonist. The time trials are also a nice touch, even if not all players are going to be interested in that.
The only real complaint that I would have is that the boss fights often take a few tries to get the idea of the pattern. I was particularly annoyed by a sea serpent boss; not all of its attacks were telegraphed, so it took a few rounds of simply taking the hit to learn the boss’ pattern. One other minor thing is the way that this game lacks the ability to take a peek below you, so there are times that you may have to make a jump down from a high point completely blind and end up just falling into some pit. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it did lead me to a few completely avoidable deaths.
A Tiny Hero to Do it All
I think the thing that initially put me off of this game the most was the art style. While the pixel art is all well done and moves with a lot of charm, the character design was one that just made my brain kind of go “No. Don’t want that.”. That might sound a little cruel, but I only bring that up to say that it did actually grow on me more than I expected. Eventually I came to see the flat colors as something like a children’s coloring book, which is really what the plot of the game feels like so it’s a wonderful fit. I’m glad that it grew on me. Perhaps my favorite detail is the two characters with a stretcher that take away bosses once they are defeated. It was just really cute.
The music is in one of those places where I would say that it’s good, but I’d be hard-pressed to remember any of the tunes off the top of my head. It’s pretty simple but has that sweet little arcade feel that made it appropriate for the type of game that we have here. The sound effects are also pretty repetitive, but I’m not going to fault a game this small for that, at all.
And to your Switch to Bind Them
Is Juiced! the most groundbreaking platformer to grace my switch? No, not really. However, it is still pretty fun to run through levels and blow enemies away in search of a trio of magic doohickeys. Considering the low entry price, I have no trouble recommending this one to anyone who is even passively interested. It’s worth taking the plunge and giving this simple little adventure a trip around the block.
- Smooth and tight platforming
- A great amount of content for the price
- Cute customizables
- Great variety in level theme
- Art style may take getting used to
- Bosses don’t telegraph well
- Enemies feel incidental
Juiced! has a juicy amount of content for a price that will be easy on your wallet. It’s not perfect, but it’s still a really fun time nonetheless!