Est. April 2016. III Version 2.0. III
Let’s cut some shapes.
By JAY TEE
Zarvot is an instantly charming title, with a curious aesthetic and intriguing hook. You take on the role of a cube named Charcoal, navigating a stylised environment, defeating a broad range of enemy types, alongside some light platforming. It’s clearly restricted a tad by an indie budget. Levels essentially float in an abyss, and there’s definitely some cut corners.
From a purely narrative standpoint, it definitely leans on its own absurdity; the heavy reliance on text dialogue and lack of voice acting affects the pace at times, but you can’t help but push forward. It’s also clear that technically speaking, Zarvot isn’t the most polished. The framerate stutters every now and then, and there’s a recurring sound popping issue that comes into play during combat. Nothing game breaking, but definitely noticeable.
Another weird design choice is your companion Mustard, who will appear next to you in cutscenes only to disappear immediately once you’re back in control.
THE BASICS -
The Look -
The Feel -
The Sound -
The Experience -
Blam blam shooty time.
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The HOMEBOY badge is for the kind of game that is perfect for playing at home, AND when you’re on the go.
The FRAMERATE VIAGRA badge is for a game with mostly solid performance, but has occasional dips or stuttering.
The COUCH MADNESS badge is awarded when a game nails split/same screen gameplay.
The CLONE WARS badge is for a game with lots of repeated character models.
The DROWSY badge is for a game that sometimes has issues with pacing.
The SET PHASERS TO SHATNER badge is for a game where lower expectations may lead to a good time.
The BANG AVERAGE badge is for a game that is bang average.
Zarvot feels like something genuinely new, but the end product feels constrained by an indie budget. An OK first step, with potential for future improvement.
*Switch review code provided by Snowhydra Games*
The inconsistent performance is at odds with the strong lighting design. Graphically speaking, it’s fairly inconsistent.
Combat is very satisfying, but the light puzzle solving and story elements miss the mark.
BACK TO BASICS
The sound design is pretty basic across the board, and fairly unremarkable.
Multiplayer far outshines the single player campaign, and is definitely worth a go.
THE FINAL SCORE:
We use a simple “out of 5” rating criteria for all reviews.
2 out of 5 is OK.
The game might have some half decent ideas, but the execution misses the mark and the game falls short.
OUT OF 5
THE LAST WORD:
Still, despite some technical shortcomings, the core gameplay is quite addicting. You’ll be faced with increasingly challenging waves of enemies, as you’re locked off in self contained areas and must defeat them before you’re able to progress. You have a variety of powerful abilities at your disposal, from a double jump / dash mechanic, to a chargeable ranged attack and an area clearing spin manoeuvre. Coupled with the destructible scenery, the combat is definitely a highlight.
Traversal isn’t quite so successful. The game’s pacing is almost too deliberate at times, and making your way through the various environments can feel a tad unremarkable. There’s an unshakeable sense of disconnect when you’re moving through the aforementioned ‘floating in the abyss’ geometry, which is a shame because the lighting design and art style are both quite good.
The competitive multiplayer is definitely an unexpected hit. Four player local deathmatch, supporting a wide selection of modes, makes for a generous offering. It definitely holds up under scrutiny far better than the single player campaign. In this regard, it’s a perfect fit for Switch.