THOTH (Switch eShop)- Review

Thanks to Carlsen Games for the review code

Title: THOTH
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Price: $4.99
Release Date: 01/09/2020


Story

In this twin-stick shooter, you take control of a white ball that tries to destroy strange cubes… And that’s as much as you get to know about any sort of possible plot. There really isn’t much dialogue here, but there’s enough to make it pick up and play accessible which is very appreciated, since getting to the action is super quick.

Presentation

Going for a minimalist style that seems to be increasing in quantity as of late, THOTH is a twin-stick shooter where you have to take control of a white ball and shoot down enemy objects. The level select menu is really basic, the stages look like something out of Color Zen, but with more flair to them, and the stage transitions are a little cool.

Definitely the craziest thing the game does visually takes place whenever you die in a stage that’s not a checkpoint; the background becomes very trippy, with wavy lines that turn any walls in the stage into instant death walls, adding more tension as you get one final shot at a stage. Combine this with eerie sound effects and strange music cues, and this is a game that uses the minimalism well enough.

Gameplay

THOTH is a twin stick shooter, where the controls work as they’d expect, with the left stick moving, and the right stick shooting. Here you have to defeat each of the enemies in the stage in order to advance to the next, and each checkpoint is divided by every four stages, so eventually you’ll be able to work your way downward to the last stage.

Switch_THOTH_02

The controls are fairly tight for the most part, with your ball being able to move faster when you’re not firing, leading to quick evasion if enemies try cornering you. Still, it isn’t just the enemies that will kill you upon contact with them, but even their defeated selves, which turn into a black mass that in the case of some enemies, will even grow bigger over time or attack you more aggressively as a result.

Switch_THOTH_03

Each set of stages slowly introduce new hazards over time, from trip wires, black holes, expanding enemies, among many other things to avoid. Soon enough, you’ll even unlock the ability to play through the stages with even longer checkpoints, eventually going down to having to do the game in one shot. You can throw in another player for local co-op, which can help you through these tricky stages if you’re stuck alone, but besides that there really isn’t much else here besides the stages, and while they’re well made and fun challenges, there really isn’t much else.

Switch_THOTH_01

Unfortunately, there is a very irritating issue I had that makes playing this beyond annoying, and that has to do with how pausing works. Or rather, how it doesn’t. Anytime you hit the plus button during gameplay, you go back to the level select menu. No confirmation, no pausing, nothing, so if you do this in the middle of a tricky set of levels, or lord forbid, in that huge marathon, you just lost your chance and have to select the nearest checkpoint all over again. This is terrible design choice, and while the home button can help a little bit, it just baffles me that there’s seemingly no pause feature whatsoever, and how there’s not even a confirmation menu to prevent accidentally losing all of your current progress in a run.

Conclusion

In conclusion, THOTH is a basic twin-stick shooter that I had a decent time with. Playing with a friend is incredibly fun, and going through each of the game’s crazy levels will take quite some time and practice, but they do offer clever challenges the entire way through.

However, the game is still very basic and doesn’t feel offer much that wowed me over compared to the many other twin stick games I’ve played. Combine that with the infuriating fact that if you so much as try to pause, you’ll get booted to the level select menu, and you have a decent shooter that isn’t anything special, but is still a fun ride as it lasts, and definitely a good local co-op afternoon.

I give THOTH a 6 out of 10.

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