Thanks to OverGamez for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 08/29/2020
Collapsed is absolutely dull; drab colors, little in the way of any memorable music, and not really anything impressive to look at or hear. Some of the UI elements feel a bit too similar to other roguelikes for my liking, but at the very least the enemies are very distinct and don’t blend in with the backgrounds.
The music isn’t too noteworthy either, and the sound effects are what you expect, so I don’t have much to say about them here.
Collapsed is a sidescrolling roguelike, where the main objective is to guide your main character (customized via one of several classes) throughout each stage while defeating enemies and gaining materials needed to further improve your character. You have a comfy dual-stick control scheme, with jumps, dashes and attacks to help navigate the many randomized labyrinths thrown your way. You can aim with the right stick and use the triggers to use either a melee or ranged attack, with the other trigger being used for your dash, which can be a lifesaver in moments of heavy fire.
Defeating enemies and attempting the worlds provided in the Memory Logs will lead to you leveling up and finding numerous items, either from defeated enemies as drops or through loot boxes that can be opened when found. These can range from handy add-ons to your weapons and armor to useful items or health refills, along with crystals that can be used to obtain enhancements from the Global Progress Tree, offering access to tons of benefits such as increased max HP, weapon strength, items, and new skills to take advantage of.
Of course, upon death, as per usual in the genre, you’ll be sent back to the main hub of the Memory Void, where you can access the global progress tree or store any excess items you need to keep safe or offload. Then it’s back into the memory logs once again until you finally clear one.
Unfortunately, in my case, clearing one never happened. I spent over an hour attempting in vain to get past at least one memory log, but the game itself just has a lot of problems despite the comfy control scheme. Right off the bat, the enemies will overwhelm you, even on a low difficulty, and without dodging carefully you’ll die in no time. Being tough isn’t a bad thing, but immediately into the game just gives me big vibes of this being a grind fest, and even as I slowly gained levels and learned the tricks of melee combat and found some handy items, I still couldn’t make it to the end of any memory log due to this obsessively high learning curve, though i at least managed to make it past some floors and get the hang of clearing portal ambushes after 40 minutes of grinding.
But not only is the difficulty a bit too high to start out with, but Collapsed just doesn’t run that well: in my case, playing primarily in handheld, the game would have odd stutters and framedips, leaving to an annoyingly inconsistent experience. Sometimes I’d be running at a stable enough framerate, making my way to the next batch of enemies or a portal, only for something as simple as my projectile attack to dip the framerate. Combat with portal ambushes is even worse, since sometimes the game will run normally, while other times these moments will cause lots of hitches that become very noticeable and annoying when you notice them.
I feel that if the framerate was locked solid, even if it was 30FPS, the game would be a lot easier to focus on since combat wouldn’t feel like a random assortment of bumps and hills. Eventually, despite finally managing to clear portals and gain some good equipment for my melee attack, I had to give in and admit defeat.
In conclusion, Collapsed is a very dull roguelike, with a very high learning curve and performance issues that making playing this (at least in handheld) a lot more frustrating than it should be, while also lacking the magic that make other roguelike games so good. The controls are still very comfy and the action is fine, but there’s really no reason to pick this one up over the many, better roguelikes for less money due to the difficulty balancing and framerate problems, unless you’re really not one to mind attempting things tons and tons of times just to clear one world, and having to grind a lot as a result. At the very least, try it on another system that isn’t this Switch version, since I feel you won’t have to deal with the annoying performance problems I ran into elsewhere, even though that doesn’t mean this version should be excused for such poor hitches.
Considering the high pricepoint and barrier of entry, along with just not being engaging in general, it doesn’t have much to call its own that works, and overall this was just an uninteresting experience. A collapsed experience indeed.
I give Collapsed a 5 out of 10.