Game: Sir Eatsalot
Genre: Adventure, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PlayStation Vita)
Developers|Publishers: Behind the Stone
Price: US$ 12.99|Au$ $12.07|UK £11.69
Age Rating: EU 3+|US E/10+|AU PG
Release Date: 9th January 2020
Review code used, with many thanks to Behind the Stone.
I don’t have a lot of experience with platformer games. I did play them during my childhood years, especially Rayman on the original Playstation (a game that I found ridiculously hard), Crash Bandicoot and Pandemonium!, but I gradually became more interested in other types of games such as RPGs. Sir Eatsalot, from developers Behind the Stone, was thus quite a shift for me when I tried it on my Switch.
Lemonade as a weapon!
Before I get into the review, the first thing you should know is that the game is restricted to handheld mode only. If you prefer to play via your television, you may not want to pick this one up. Personally, I love to play handheld, so it wasn’t an issue for me, but this is still an important note for potential buyers.
The story is that the land of Gluttington is threatened by a villain named Hysterica, who aspires to become the Queen with the support of the Rat Clan. Her dubious plan of action is to use sour lemonade as a weapon by pumping it into the water. The King decides to send a Knight named Sir Eatsalot, the character you control, to stop her. I was a little worried at first that the game might be distasteful in poking fun at weight issues, but on the whole I think it doesn’t seem mean-spirited about it. Eatsalot is actually a very likeable, endearing character — he is nearly always polite and gutsy, and he is of course the hero of the story. The story as a whole seems quite innocent, with a fair amount of amusing dialogue, especially between Hysterica and her sidekick.
The visuals have an attractive quality and are quite vibrant in colour, while Eatalot’s animated movements in particular look smooth. The soundtrack isn’t bad either, with a couple of nice themes (my favourites are the ones near the end of the game, where you travel to the Isotonic Waters and then Hysterica’s hideout).
You move around using the analog stick or the directional buttons. To attack with a sword, you use the Y button, while pressing X will bring up a journal (which updates with information on your targets and items). Holding R will put your shield up, although attacks will still drive you back a little, which can be seriously frustrating if you have to fight on a small platform. If you wish to run, you tap the movement button twice, quickly, but your stamina level will deplete. Pressing B will let you jump (in a balletic looking manner), and you can combine this with your running to jump to higher or further locations.
To restore stamina or health, you pick up food that grows on things around you, but you will need to use touch screen to ‘pick’ them. One plus point about this is that you can mostly pick things up without your character actually being near them — as long as you see them on the screen ahead of you, one can simply tap them to collect them. If you die, which will happen if you fall in certain areas or are hurt too much, you will return to a nearby point with only one out of three hearts available. This really isn’t a big negative point though, because food is so common throughout the game that you can regain hearts very quickly.
Another touch screen aspect is where you tear down posters of the villain (with a paraphrased Trump slogan on them), trace creatures that you encounter in order to learn more about them, shake rocks above you loose to use as platforms, etc. The game requires thought; there were times when I was stuck and had to experiment for a while before figuring things out. There is a section involving a dog that I found particularly puzzling at first, and something involving a painting late in the game completely baffled me.
Some little niggles
Touch screen is, as far as I can tell, essential to playing this game, which explains the lack of a television mode. This is also my biggest issue with the game; I’m not a big fan of using touch screen for games, and I found it particularly awkward to switch between the buttons on the console and the touch screen, especially when you had to move very fast. There is a point near the end of the game where you must balance touch screen usage and the console buttons with a lot of speed, and I found it very troublesome.
Most of the game ran smoothly, with no issues, but I did experience a serious bug towards the end where my screen went completely black and I could only exit to the home screen. I contacted the developer about this and discovered that the bug actually didn’t stop me from progressing (I was attempting to use a doorway that was unnecessary at that point) but it’s still worth addressing. The developer (who was polite and helpful) is investigating the issue, attempting to replicate it in order to fix it.
I liked this game on the whole. It’s not something I would consider to be essential, but it’s not a bad game either, and it has clear strengths in the amusing writing and the visuals. The controls may give you a few problems, as they did for me, but that’s only something that became a concern for me when I got to the very last parts, where I had to move very quickly between the buttons and the touch screen in order to avoid cheese bombs, traps, and so on at the same time.
If you’re interested in an innocent, casual platformer, this one is worth looking at.
Verdict: I like it