Thanks to Carlsen Games for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 01/09/2020
Normally if a game lacks a story, I just skip this section altogether and move on to the presentation, but 140 is an odd case, since not only does it lack a story… It lacks any kind of text whatsoever. Annoyingly, like Toki Tori 2, this means that the game doesn’t really give you any indication of what is what, nor even gives you so much as an options menu. So really, it’s just a pain.
140 goes for a simplistic art style akin to many other games I’ve covered for the site before. Thankfully, I felt that this game does some really cool things with said art style, as the game mainly revolves around putting shapes you collect back in their rightful place, which in turn changes up the world around you in order to allow you to progress further.
For instance, you may wander by a stretch of platforms that are too high to reach, but when you go forward a bit and place a missing orb back into its opening, then the world will change, and the floor underneath those platforms will gain the ability to boost you into the air, just high enough so you can reach them and make it to the next missing orb and continue onward. 140 is filled with fun environmental changes such as this, and it leads to a very eye-pleasing game over all, and the soundtrack’s rather solid as well.
Though as noted above, the lack of any sort of menus or such means there’s no UI to cover at all, so there’s really not much else to note outside of the game looking pretty and being simplistic enough that you can pick up and play.
140 is a simplistic platformer, where the main objective of each stage is to solve the various platforming challenges, using your white orb to alter the state of the world by piecing it together.
The controls in this game, just like the presentation, are crazy simple, with just a jump button at your disposal. This alongside d-pad controls leave to your typical, tight controlling minimalistic platformer, and for the most part things are fairly standard, with you going through areas with bouncy floors, weird gravity, moving platforms, among many other things, and all of these are tied to the game’s rhythm, even if the songs themselves are nothing to write home about.
Oddly enough, as noted above, the simplicity in this game feels like it goes a bit too far. There’s no text to speak of in this game, and that includes the lack of so much as a pause screen. Hitting the plus or minus button on the Switch controllers will just bring up the controller configuration menu, and I wish there was at least an options menu or even a proper pause feature that didn’t just bring up that controller screen.
Not to mention, it feels a bit iffy on where the game saves. There’s no manual save option whatsoever, and the stages are long and segmented into pieces. I tried doing one piece of a stage, quit, then went back to it, only to learn I had to do that piece again. I beat the whole stage, then find out that it finally autosaved, but only after returning to the hub area where you go to each stage. Some better clarification on the game autosaving would have been pretty helpful, since the game has a lot of checkpoints to begin with that allow for infinite retries whenever you get stuck.
Outside of that, the only other thing I can give some props for are the end-stage gimmicks. Instead of a traditional boss battle, you end up getting a series of challenges. Whether it’s a weird rhythmic laser you have to control, to a platforming rush, these challenges are rather creative, even if they can be sudden difficulty spikes.
In conclusion, 140 goes for a lot of the standard platforming tropes. The game controls fine, is very enjoyable, and is still mostly fun, but I find the weird saving system, total lack of text and random difficulty spikes to be pretty irritating and confusing. I think some more polish would have helped this title a lot, since compared to THOTH, I found the latter to use the simplicity a lot better.
For now, 140 just felt average, middle of the road. It all works well, but feels like stuff I’ve seen done a thousand times before, but better, with games such as Kuso having simplicity while also being a lot more polished and charming. Not a bad pick for a platformer, but not a unique one either.
I give 140 a 5 out of 10.