Game: Serious Scramblers
Genre: Action, Platformer, Arcade
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC and mobile)
Developer|Publisher: Chinykian Games
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £1.69 | EU 1.99 | US $1.99
Release Date: 27th August 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Chinykian Games
The Simple Life
You know sometimes I look at the latest AAA game with its super in-depth story, deep gameplay mechanics and over the top graphics and think ‘That looks cool.’ Then I turn on my Switch boot up Tetris 99 and think ‘ This is just fine,’ and totally forget about the AAA game. Simple still works in gaming and I’m pleased games like Tetris and Serious Scramblers still exist to remind us of that. Simple controls, simple graphics but mountains of replay value. I guess that sums up today’s review. But if you need more then read on.
Scramble Down the Well
Serious Scrambles starts with you entering a well. The graphics are simple, retro designs and a simple soundtrack to accompany it. You play as a ninja looking sprite and your goal is to reach the flag without being hit by a hazard or enemy as the randomly generated level continuously scrolls vertically. One hit and its right back to the start with you buddy to try all over again.
Left and Right
The controls are easy simply left and right. That is all you can do. No jumping, no fireballs just your quick reflexes. You can move your character with the d-pad, the analogue stick or even the shoulder buttons if you prefer. You direct your character from platform to platform. But don’t hang around too long as a wall of spikes is slowly descending from above. Not only that, but there are platforms which shoot spikes out or have flames on, so there is not a lot of time to relax and catch your breath. This is a fast moving, arcade style game, where you need to make quick decisions on the fly. Every level is randomly generated so memorization won’t help you. You simply need to try again and again to get to that goal. This simple formula is highly enjoyable and I thoroughly loved quick sessions in handheld mode even if I did spend most of the time dying and restarting.
Try and Try Again
The main game is level based, you have to travel a certain distance down, find the flag and move to the next level. Every now and then though the game will throw a boss at you just to mix things up. These are usually quite challenging and if you die you need to repeat the prior level before attempting the boss again. This design may be quite frustrating to some gamers. There is one saving grace though: if you have collected enough coins you can exchange them to continue where you left off. A nice addition for some, but the old retro gamer in me insisted on just restarting. Guess I enjoy the punishment. Probably because I was enjoying the gameplay loop.
When you get into the rhythm of the game it’s quite satisfying. Move smoothly between platforms, bounce on enemies and take chances that work out!
Coins Mean Characters
Coins can be gradually collected as you progress through the game and these can be exchanged for new characters. These characters have different abilities that you may find useful depending on your gameplay style. Usually they are characters that have perks like faster movement at the cost of more hazards spawning. I tended to go for characters like the mummy who moved more slowly but more coins would spawn. It was enjoyable to experiment with different characters and it certainly carries an incentive to replay the game.
Once you are done with the campaign there are plenty of characters to unlock. The real replay value comes from playing the games unlock-able ‘endless mode’. Essentially the core game goes on forever until you die. So if your a fan of high scores this is the mode you may want to sink your extra time into.
Serious Scamblers is a highly addictive arcade style game at a super cheap price. Simple controls and nice pixel graphics make this an easy title to recommend for the busy gamer. Quick and to the point fun just as video games should be.
Final Verdict: I liked it a lot!