AvoCuddle Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: AvoCuddle
Genre: Arcade, Action, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Windows)
Developers|Publishers: Undefined|Ultimate Games
Price: US $12.99|AU $19.50|CA $ 17.19|EU €12,99|£11.69
Age Rating: US E 10+|AUS PG| EU 7+|
Release Date: 2nd March 2020

Review code used with many thanks to Ultimate Games.

Have you ever looked at your lunch and thought “If only this avocado could run, jump, and use a shotgun.”? Me either, but just in case that’s crossed your mind, have I got the game for you!

What is it?

Simple goals for simple avocados.

AvoCuddle is primarily a platformer/shooter game. You start out as one half of a pair of besotted avocados who get into a fight. Your avocado goes to find flowers to give to his lady love as an apology, but as soon as he gets back she’s kidnapped by an alien! Luckily, avocados came to this planet in a spaceship, so all you have to do is find the ship and launch into space. Thus starts your planet hopping rescue mission.

What’s the gameplay like?

Gotta catch ’em all! Or at least some.

This is mostly a platformer/shooter with some puzzle elements that reminded me a bit of Zelda. There’s even some space shuttle-based avoid the obstacles/pick up the coins style sections. You’ll be jumping, floating, blasting off, and shooting your way through the planets, collecting weapons and items along the way. A handful of mini games assigned by NPCs to proceed to the next area break up the main story line. All told, you’ll visit 5 planets on your avocado rescuing quest.

The first planet involves a lot of how to play instruction. This was a weak spot for me. Once you view instructions, dialogue, or a cut scene, there appears to be no way to see them again. The instructions and dialogue aren’t written terribly well and are sometimes hard to follow. This may be a translation issue, but I haven’t been able to confirm the original language. The instructions in particular appear on two different sections of the screen which I thought odd. I found myself skipping things by accident, and if you miss something the first time it appears to be Google or bust to figure out what happened.

Once you verify your mission by following the kidnapper to his home planet, you’ll visit the other 3 planets to retrieve orbs and then go complete your rescue. The 3 planets have a variety in NPCs, layouts, environment, and critters, but you’ll get the gist of things very quickly.

Very forward thinking of him.

How are the controls?

Some controls are a problem. The bulls-eye, which is operated by the right control stick, is hard to aim and the enemies come at you quickly for the most part (who knew mountain goats were so aggressive?!). If you’re like me, you will die A LOT. But one thing I really like about this game is that when you re-spawn, the bulk of the enemies stay dead. So if you go down fighting a bee in a blaze of glory, you will not be fighting that same bee next round. There are a few places in the game that are exceptions to this rule, especially toward the end, but overall you fight something once and check off that box.

I also had a lot of trouble with inadvertently switching between guns. This is because pressing down on the right control stick changes the gun you’re using. This is stupidly easy to do by mistake. While you’re frantically trying to aim, you swap guns to something that you ran out of ammo on and boom! Dead again. The number of times I accidentally swapped my gun with ammo for one that didn’t have ammo and subsequently died is ridiculously high. Also, after all that work to try and learn to control the right bulls-eye, the duck hunting mini-game swapped the bulls-eye to the left control stick. This was more frustration as a I tried to get good enough with that control to win and move on.

Running was hard to do, but this is a fault of the Switch itself (left control stick, push down. It’s awkward). You don’t run too much faster anyways, and there were only a few moments where I found it necessary.

Any other issues?

There are a couple things that seemed a little buggy. For instance, I had issues where I would die for no reason that I could figure out. I couldn’t see what was killing me. Sometimes the lasers would vanish and you could only tell where they were by the light bouncing off the rocks. I reached out to the publisher but haven’t heard back. Ultimately these are annoyances that contributed to my dying more, but you can push through if you keep trying.

A lot of the dialogue text is tiny, but I’m starting to expect this in Switch games. This certainly isn’t the first game to have that issue.

Despite these snafus, I’ve spent quite a few hours playing AvoCuddle and it has kept me very interested. If I were ever inclined to be bored, the environment alone kept me fascinated. Which brings me to…

How are the graphics?

I just love the environments!

Here’s where this game shines. The graphics are GORGEOUS. Absolutely beautiful places to investigate, with great music to match. Exploring these environments is a treat. The planets are designed very well. The only issue I had was one planet being a little too dark. Overall, I adore the places you get to visit while playing.

Each boulder has it’s own gravity field. Handy!

And the music! I have never wanted to own a game score, despite being a huge fan of film scores. I desperately want this one. Most of it is very relaxing, except when they need to create an intense moment or environment. A few pieces I heard were upbeat, and one in particular that was the background in a carnival duck shoot mini game sounded like an updated 1920’s tune. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I’m digging this score.

I’m in space!

When I’m flying in space the visuals and music combination make me want to just forget about picking a planet and keep buzzing around. For me, the result of the environments/music combination is that this is a game I was happy to keep playing, when in a different game I might have gotten overly frustrated with the previously mentioned control issues.

What else shines?

Prone to getting lost? Not here!

I’m totally on board with the map system. I want it in all platformers. You almost never miss a crevice to explore. If I hadn’t checked the map frequently I definitely would have missed some ledges that were out of my viewing range.

One exception: There’s sections on one planet where the map will fail you. I think it may be a feature not a bug though, as that planet does work slightly differently then the rest and has doors to go through that drop you into entirely different areas.

Don’t discount the silliness factor of this game. You’re playing as an avocado that gets to use an assortment of guns, grenades, fire throwers, etc. The ridiculousness of the idea makes it so much fun!

Conclusion

“Vengence is mine!” Sayeth the…avocado?

This is a colorful and entertaining platformer, with less than amazing shooter elements. The story keeps things moving, but the dialogue is clunky so it isn’t very engaging. At it’s best, the dialogue feels like a cross between a greeting card and a B-movie (which is highly entertaining depending on your sense of humor). The directions are also somewhat less than stellar, and there’s a few parts that seem kind of buggy, but nothing that totally ruined it for me.

However, the graphics, music, and silliness factor of having the hero be an avocado made this a game that I kept plugging away at right ’til the end and loved quite a bit. I can definitely say that…

Final Verdict: I like it! 

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