Thunderflash Switch Review: Done In A Flash

Thunderflash is a game on the Nintendo Switch.

I’m not one for steaming through a game, but Thunderflash offered as much variety as making a bowl of Coco Pops. Other cereals are available. Firstly, while not a casual gamer, I don’t platinum everything I play, nor do I like to rush.

However, with this game, I’d seen everything in about an hour or so and was left feeling a little indifferent. It doesn’t make me feel particularly good about beginning that way but making it clear from the outset.

Thunderflash was a game I was looking forward to, reliving a classic arcade genre for one or two players. Yes, it was clear it wouldn’t be innovative or offer the greatest visuals – I knew that, but I hadn’t anticipated it to be underwhelming either.

Thunderflash Switch Review

From Ratalaika Games and SEEP, Thunderflash is made from the same cast as classics such as CommandoIkari Warriors and perhaps Mercs, if you’ve heard of that. The visuals and level design were on par with Ikari Warriors, and from my perspective, that’s a good thing.

Thunderflash - Jet Set Willies
Jet Set Willies. Source: Screen capture

So what went wrong? That’s a dramatic statement, but maybe expectations were high. It’s a tried and tested formula that works, but the gameplay feels uninspiring. That’s no reflection on the genre or forgettable story, which was common in most of these games anyway.

You play either Rock or Stan, on your own or with a friend, as you storm through several levels with a few zones each. Each level’s final act will result in a boss battle – usually a giant mech with health that expands across the screen.

There are two commands at hand: shoot and rockets – the same configuration as any other game like Thunderflash. Rockets are understandably limited, but you can collect additional ones, as well as health and weapons from green barrels.

Rocket, Yeah

The standard gun in Thunderflash is a bit dull, but it’s infinite and accurate. You mostly shoot upwards and diagonally, occasionally shooting respawning enemies below, but sometimes it becomes a side-scroller.

Thunderflash - Boss
Ze boss. Source: Screen capture

You have access to vehicles and a jetpack wearing a costume that looks like Santa Claus if playing Rock in the side-scrolling sections. Unfortunately, the vehicle sections felt like filler as you can hold the button down and create a wave of attacks, often coming out unscathed.

This tactic was also apparent in a couple of boss battles as I found you could stand still, hold the fire button for constant damage and, in some cases, not lose a single life. This wasn’t in easy mode, but Normal. Whacking it up to Hardcore was the only option, but by then, I had lost interest.

Music is a taste thing, and if a soundtrack is great, it gets praise, if flawed, muted, not berated. Though the score wasn’t that great, it was the sound effects that were the cause of my beef. Grenades sounded like zip wires, and the flamethrower sounded like a person making the noise. It just wasn’t for me, and in fear of being overly dramatic, it dampened the experience.

Stick Around

I loathe writing negative comments about a game. Thunderflash isn’t a terrible game; it’s just underwhelming. I do want to take responsibility for getting a little too excited about it. Still, even if going in without expectations, it just comes across as monotonous.

Thunderflash - Survivor
I’m a survivor – Queen B. Source: Screen capture

There’s a fair amount of options available in the game aside from the story. You can replay stages you have already run through and even push to unlock new ones, but you need to play through from start to finish if you want to open the story in full. 

Starting with ten credits (a.k.a. lives), it is possible to finish in one go, but I found that I needed the extra five awarded on my first death. Besides doing a co-op with a chum in the main story, you can also go through a Boss Rush. These are solely the bosses, until the last one where you have to repeat part of a level and the boss.

Finally, there’s survival, and this was the mode I disliked the most, purely because it was boring and repetitive. You enter various stages and destroy as much as you can on a static stage, collecting health and power-ups to last as long as possible, then get a score. 

Thunderflash Switch Review Summary

I’ve stewed on it before committing to it, but Thunderflash didn’t deliver for me, and I find it a little hard to think outside the box and say this is an enjoyable game. By all means, do your research, watch some gameplay and read more reviews – it’s just my opinion, and for it’s worth, not one I can recommend.