Georifters is a mixed bag. For the most part, it’s a very well designed puzzle platformer. On the other side, it’s quite ugly, notwithstanding some decent character models – plus there are a few mechanics that take away the fun factor.
Georifters, a game from Leoful, wasn’t clear what type of game it was. Was it a Smash Bros. clone or a platformer, puzzle title or environmental manipulation? It’s all of the above, and for the most part, it’s a well-designed game. On paper.
It all went a little downhill with the prolonged tutorial. Most of the advice wasn’t necessary, and as it’s a well-known fact that gamers are the most intelligent species after dolphins, we could have worked it out. Working out some of the mechanics might have taken a few fumbles in the dark, y’ know, putting things in the wrong places, that sort of thing.
Georifters Review – Nintendo Switch
One such mechanic is punching blocks back and forth to gain access to new areas, collect candy or kill lesser enemies such as Butt Flies. Least, that’s my memory of their name. Why punch blocks? They’re in the way, and as a platform game, you need to use the environment to your advantage. Another trick is firing a bubble gum gun (say fast ten times) as said blocks to pull them towards you for the same privileges – leverage, access, feng shui.
Add to that a double jump feature and Georifters is in familiar territory – well played, Busy Toaster. There’s a story in there, but it’s a run-of-the-mill world after world of candy-related paraphernalia. There’s plenty of characters to choose from too and a considerable list of customisables. You unlock these through progressing through the level and collecting as much candy as possible, but here’s a heads up: you unlock access to them. That means you still need the dough if you want to purchase them. For quite a few stages, it means grinding if you’re going to make yourself look pretty.
And that’s the thing: Georifters is a chimaera of beauty and ugliness. The models are excellent, but they lack polish. I’m putting my money on this being the Switch version, and perhaps if you play on an i9 gaming PC, you can see your own reflection. Maybe it’s more than the Switch can chew as the game is a little sluggish too. Characters move like they have all the time in the world and the music as chirpy as those annoying people who hum all day and tell you to think positive – it’s what the universe wants.
Why is it that I kept playing it? Because, like I mentioned and you didn’t skim over, the concept for the game is as moreish as the candy worlds these characters occupy. Working out how to move one block to free up another space was like playing a game of Spider Solitaire – only with candy blocks and a pigtailed hair girl in a spacesuit (unless you choose one of the other hacks – either in the primary campaign or versus modes). In some ways, the puzzles were relatively easy but just so you don’t have too much fun with the game, here are two elephants in the room that get in your way every time you head to the kitchen.
The first with Georifters is the battery. The visual indicator on-screen would suggest this was a health bar, but the hearts in the HUD take care of that. When you see a battery deplete, this represents your ability to punch one of the blocks, a.k.a. your fundamental skill. Keeping with the sluggish ‘charm’, it seems like an age for it to recharge when all you want to do is smash some blocks. This would never have happened in Wrecking Crew.
For the second whinge, it was the classic ‘let’s add a timer to make things exciting’. Georifters nurtures the player so early on that you could tip your drink over, and it wouldn’t spill – it’s child’s play. Then, when you smugly collect all the candy in every level without a scratch, more and more timers are introduced so managing everything starts to become…problematic. Fine, we can always come back to those later on, but then when you’re frantically bashing away at blocks for your 2G-like mobile to go dead… well, let’s say it dampens the experience.