System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam and Mobile)
Publishers| Developers: Grapefrukt games|Webbfarbror
Age Rating: EU 3| USA E | AUS G
Price: EU €9,99 | USA$ 9.99 |AUS $15.00
Release Date: 13th November 2019
Review Code Used Many Thanks To Grapefrukt games
Originally released last year on mobile, HoleDown is heading to the Nintendo Switch with an exclusive couch co-op mode included along with the one player option.
Chipping away, and away
HoleDown is a puzzle game slightly reminiscent of Peggle and Breakout. It’s all about mining and blasting your way through a series of blocks to reach the core. You do this by aiming a rain of smiling balls that shoot out from the top of the screen and follow the aim line that you set, the balls ricochet of anything they touch and end up back at the top of the screen ready for your next turn.
Below there are blocks you need to chip away at, each with a number on it. These numbers represent how many times you need to hit a block to clear it from the screen. The ultimate goal is the reach the core of the level where you destroy a large numbered ball to earn crystals. But beware….If a block reaches the pink line at the top of the screen during play……it’s game over!
It’s all about reaching the crystals
Blocks with an X on them will disappear once they have been hit the required number of times and any blocks with just a number on it that is supported by that X block will also disappear from the screen.
Some blocks contain crystals which are important to collect. Of course, you also receive a larger quantity of crystals if you succeed in reaching the core of a level.
These crystals are used to upgrade various abilities, such as increasing the amount of balls you start with. Or from two up to fifteen or more shots per round to upgrading your mining license to allow you to move on to the next level.
Gameplay both in horizontal and vertical hold on the Switch
You are introduced to the game by a friendly little white worm on the side of the screen. Through speech bubbles the worm explain’s how to play HoleDown. As it’s a pretty simplistic game this style of tutorial is fine. The worm not only introduces you to the gameplay but also provides information such as when you earn an extra ball during one of your shots.
You play HoleDown by aiming with the L stick and pressing A to fire the balls or by using one finger on the touchscreen, both control styles work equally well.
HoleDown can also be played by holding your Nintendo Switch vertically. Alternately, you can also play using the touchscreen by holding it horizontally. This however isn’t mentioned in the game. I found out by accident as I was moving my Switch with the game running.
Minimal graphics and a soothing soundtrack
Each planet has its own original quirky space-acid soundtrack to accompany the game play along with the satisfying sounds of the balls bouncing of the blocks. Plus there’s the equally satisfying sound of a purring clicking sound you hear when you are lining up a shot.
The animation and graphics are minimal but they get the job done and the game preforms well.
There are six planets to dig through and once you have made the way to the core in all the planets an endless play mode opens up. A leaderboard is also included where you can view your ranking’s for your own score, your score among friends and your score globally for each planet.
I found playing HoleDown very entertaining and lining up my shots and watching the balls bounce and ricochet off everything in the grid was surprisingly soothing and relaxing.
It’s the type of game that can be played in short bursts after a stressful day or longer play sessions with a friend in the co-op mode, also great fun.
The game offers five+ hours of solid gameplay in the main game. After that, there’s hours of fun to be had in the endless play mode. Added to that, you have the opportunity to go back to a level and try to beat your score. I’m happy that HoleDown has a spot on my Nintendo Switch. If you enjoy this genre of game maybe you should give it a try to!
Final Verdict: I Like It A Lot.