Out now on Steam, here’s a Bake ‘n Switch review for all you bun fans, and lovers of couch play co-op.
It’s also available as a playable demo, so if you’re still curious, go and download that (I recommend you do that anyway), and up to four people can play at the same time. Science.
A fun brawler for families, fans of cupcakes, puppies, kittens and quote dolphin lyrics in everyday conservation, Bake ‘n Switch will be a delight. For everyone else, it’ll be fun too, but the focus here is on cute.
Bake ‘n’ Switch Review
I’m still getting to grips with PC gaming and for the life of me could not configure a two-player local game, despite having a separate controller, and a trendsetter that I am, a keyboard. The solution was dusting off an old wired controller and therefore played local co-op).
Do note that there’s no way to play the game with bots, nor can you play online in random matches – friends in your Steam list only.
As a gaming loner, by choice, there wasn’t anyone I could enlist to help review this game at first, that is until my daughter’s friends kindly volunteered to play the game with us. Without setting up any form of chat, she thought she was playing my daughter but rather than this be a story where the adult sadistically beats the child, I handed the reins over as I had my arse handed to me.
Without a doubt, this is a game for them. It’s undoubtedly fun to play and all the merrier with players who mirror how much fun you’re having. Understandably, kids are a bit more transparent when they’re unhappy, but a threat of ‘no Fortnite this week unless you help me with this game’ paid off a treat.
They’ll have their revenge when I’m in the nursing home.
But what’s this all about, eh?
Bake ‘n Switch is a party brawler where you have to beat the dough out of one another. Fortunately, your players aren’t the dough; instead, they can make it, and you fight waves of enemies and bosses, not directly each other.
You have to collect bits of cute lil’ dough and then chuck it in the oven, or collect up to 30 of those bad boys into one for more points. Those with the most buns baked get the most points and win the round. Naturally, there’s a timer so expect a frantic experience.
There are three tiers to the points system, measured by stars, so if you get the requirement for each stage, you earn three stars and bragging rights amongst your friends, but more importantly, it unlocks new areas and skins for your characters.
Playing in co-op or PvP, there’s a large world map to compete in where each stage increases in difficulty. On this surface, this is great for younger players, but if you’re competitive and take the game seriously, you will be rewarded with a significant challenge.
While casual players and perhaps a younger audience can probably get a kick out of the earlier, easier stages, as you progress, the levels can get tough due to the introduction of environmental hazards and enemies. It felt like every new level introduced a new element such as an enemy type, or a combination of dough dipped in flavours and thrown in the oven on demand.
Enemies can be dealt with by punching them, and you can dash past some obstacles, but if the enemies get too close to your dough, they can infect your dough and go from gourmet to garbage in a matter of seconds and just one more dilemma to juggle as they decrease the units. In other words, if you’ve fused 20 bits of dough and a ‘sticky’ enemy attacks them, the number will keep dropping until you rescue them.
The immediate comparison would be the Overcooked series, but as I still haven’t played it, I’m going to compare Bake ‘n Switch to Cannibal Cuisine, both in terms of presentation and occasional frustration with the environments and your fellow player.
Baking In Pairs (Or More)
The co-op side is rewarding if you can get the co-operation of the other player. As the environments become more complex, you’ll need to position yourselves across each map, throwing the dough to one another rather than attempting to run the risk of losing it through attacks or falling down a chasm or into the water.
Aside from losing the dough to enemies and the environment, you can also sabotage your efforts by punching the dough into the oven for minus points. Why would anyone do that? To get a kick out of winding your old man up would be the answer to that. My daughter is a vindictive little sod.
Bake ‘n Switch is a very well presented game. I have nothing against cute designs or anything, but the character models in this game didn’t do much for me. While you can customise their appearance with an array of colours, there wasn’t a go-to avatar for me, but that’s just preference and no detriment to the game design. Each character has an ability, but nothing stood out as a must, and they were relatively interchangeable.
The levels, on the other hand, are gorgeous. Levels were often well thought out and resembled some luxurious settings where you’d instead be sitting on your arse eating a doughnut than making one, but still, it was a visual treat.
Unfortunately, the level design isn’t as cute as the artwork and Steamline Games have been pretty vindictive with some of the levels. I swear that developers write code into their games that hack into your brain so your gaming experience can be projected onto their monitors. These broadcast your frustration at not getting enough points before the timer is up and they sit there laughing about how ‘this was their design’. Evil.
I jest. Game devs want you to enjoy their games, and on this basis, Bake ‘n Switch is an enjoyable party game.
From a family perspective, this would be better on console (this is coming to the Switch), not because there’s anything wrong with the PC version. I would imagine a broader user group would play this locally either in tabletop mode or docked as you don’t need a split-screen mode instead of sitting around the computer – that is, unless you have friends online you can connect with. Sniff.
On that basis, I would be keen to get this for the Switch as my youngest would like to play this too, but we’re limited to controllers on the PC, two, where on the Switch have six if we count the joy-cons separately. I’ve gone off on a tangent a bit here, but my point is, as a couch play game that doesn’t appear to have the option to play online with strangers or locally with bots, it would be better served locally on console.