Sometimes you get what you pay for, and seeing the launch price for Green Phoenix would seem like a straight-to-video, bargain basement deal, but when you look at Ratalaika Games’ catalogue, for a similar price, you get good value for your money.
It’s a rarity to be blown away by the Switch’s graphics, and even when they’re good, it will be more of a surprise than a WOW. From Broken Simulation and Zerouno Games , Green Phoenix fits into the latter category as it was pretty impressive how good it looks – especially the bonus 3D modelling post-credits.
One could assume there’s a bit more control with an on-rails game as you don’t necessarily need to colour in the buildings at the rear if the player won’t see it. As a result, the game moves at a nice steady pace, and often the scenery looks very nice. And that’s kind of what the game feels like – a sightseeing tour.
Green Phoenix Switch Review
In the opener, I was getting bored. Dodging incoming traffic wasn’t a big ask, nor were the tunnel sectors and space debris. Weapons were active, but without any enemies or evident damage from mindlessly shooting everything, it got to the point of playing one-handed, the other scratching my arse with a bit more interest.
The soundtrack was good but quickly became secondary to the monotonous droll of the A.IA.I. This must be the immersive story element? Unfortunately, the voiceover was so uninspiring that I switched off – pretty rare for me, but other than the visuals, Green Phoenix seldom held my attention. Eventually, after the intro lap, I entered a cave and randomly shot at the environment to earn crystals, which have no use in the game.
This time, I encountered heat-seeking mines. Now there was something to shoot at, but without any other abilities like homing missiles or a barrel roll or boost, you have to ensure you spot them from a distance and continue to shoot in one spot; otherwise, you’ll take a hit. How much damage you can take, nobody knows as there isn’t any HUD to refer to.
After surviving this area, it was back to the city environment once more, but this time the mines were here too, and some turrets that could be avoided by flying at the top of the screen. Checking to see if I could die, and to add some excitement, I crashed into everything I could, resulting in death. It’s possible to restart from the last level you died, but my only incentive was to finish the game in case it improved. It didn’t.
When you do die, you have to restart the level from the beginning, and on one of the dozen or so levels, I died a few times. If it weren’t for compiling this review, I would have ended it there. Enemies are essentially the mines and some turrets, then avoided two lots of fans, space debris and a boss that made my eyes go funny with the motion.
I have nothing against shooters on-rails whatsoever, and it was me who sought out this title in the first place. As referred to in the news piece, I enjoyed Redout Assault – something I thought Green Phoenix would be, but instead, it was too docile with hardly anything to do. It’s clear why the game starts at a low price as it’s a short game, too. Again, nothing wrong with that, but for less than an hour of play, there’s little gain other than the A.I. talking to you about feelings.
The dialogue is well-written, but the tone of the A.I. is hard to concentrate on, and the fact that you still have to pilot a ship with no chance of reading the subtitles felt suppressed. The story element would perhaps be better suited to a visual novel so that the player can give their undivided attention to the writing.
Alas, this is not a game I can personally recommend. Yes, the visuals are very nice, and I like how the ship flaps like a bird. Green Phoenix had potential, but in the end, it felt more like a one-sided visual novel, only with the occasional threat in the game to remind you that it is occasionally interactive.