[Review] THOTH – Nintendo Switch

Written by Kevin Orme
Editors Note- Purchase either THOTH or 140 and you’ll get the other game FREE*
*Only Available Two Weeks after Launch
  • Developer: Carlsen Games
  • Publisher: Carlsen Games
  • Release Date: 09/01/2020
  • Price: $4.99 / £4.49
  • Review code provided by Carlsen Games

PREPARE TO DIE

I’m a fan of shooters myself and this love has grown a great deal more with the advent of the twin stick shooter. THOTH is a pretty solid shooter in the vein with all the bells and whistles trimmed off to give a sleek and artsy approach. However, thisdoes not mean that the developers took any of the challenge away from the experience. In my entire playthrough I probably died somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 to 100 times. It’s a simple experience, but it’ll kick your butt if you go in guns blazing. With 64 stages, the experience is relatively quick, but the difficulty ramps up pretty quickly.

Smart Shooting

I went into THOTH ready to shoot everything that moved. The first few levels went quickly. Easy stuff. Then, things started ramping up. Every enemy, with the exception of two or three, continuously chase you. This adds a level of strategy that was completely lost on me at the beginning. I would shoot whatever came my way and I was fine. Then, by about the fifth of sixth level, things started getting very tricky. There were enemies that would shoot at me when they died, but their bullets would ricochet off the walls and stay on screen as new obstacles. Other enemies would act like a black hole, slowly growing until I shot at it to make it shrink, but if I killed it, it would turn into a void that would grow until I either died or beat the level.

Enemies aside, THOTH made me think about what was happening in each level instead of just running in and hoping for the best. I spent just as much time shooting as I did running in the end game. Each “section” of the game is split into four levels that have a gimmick that defines the entire thing. Sometimes the gimmick is how the environment changes and sometimes it’s a new type of enemy. Either way, the game keeps you guessing with every checkpoint and it works very well.

This also leads me to another thing that I have neglected up to this point. I wouldn’t refer to this as a “Run ‘n’ Gun” as much as I would a “Run OR Gun” game. When you are firing, your run speed in nearly halved. This leads to an entirely new level of strategy that made me use my brain a lot more in the whole experience.

Tech-No?

Something I didn’t even consider until somebody had asked me about it was how well this whole game plays. There’s not a whole lot of difference between docked and handheld. The framerates are smooth across both and the controls never suffer under any setup. The sound was not what I was expecting though. With a game like this, a frenetic shooter, I expected some deep beats or some techno-infused thumper of a soundtrack. That’s not what you get and it’s for a good reason. THOTH is all about feeling weight in your lifespan and fear in your deaths. So, instead of throwing a crazy thumper in your face, you get some subtle ambiance that fills you with tension instead of energy. I loved it.

If at first you don’t succeed…

THOTH does challenge very well. Each stage give you two lives and you die with one hit. Now, that’s not too bad by itself, but when you die every wall in the game becomes a hazard that will kill you as well. This alone, is the reason for at least a third of my deaths in game. 

The difficulty can seem a little much sometimes in the later levels, but with some dedicated work and time taken to analyze how things work. You WILL die a lot, but every time that you do, you have a better understanding of how it all works. I left after all of it has finished feeling that the game had been fair but challenging. Definitely worth the asking price.

Pros

  • Solid challenge
  • Bang for your buck
  • Solid 2-player mode
  • Quick restart after death
  • Lots of checkpoints

Cons

  • Hitboxes can be a bit rough
  • Infuriating difficulty at times
  • Soundtrack

Verdict
The challenge keeps you coming back for more and the gameplay is great. Without putting much a dent in your wallet, THOTH is a solid game.
4/5

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