Author Topic: qomp2 (Switch) Review  (Read 247 times)

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Offline riskman64

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qomp2 (Switch) Review
« on: February 19, 2024, 12:09:04 PM »

The Pong sequel you never knew you needed.

Like many of you, I was once quite unaware that qomp2 is a sequel to Pong; in fact, it's actually a follow-up to the original qomp from 2021 that only came to PC. If you can imagine Pong mechanics across a series of multi-screen puzzles, you'll have a decent grasp of what qomp2 brings to the table. The types of obstacles change regularly across each of the game's four worlds, and even if the fairly basic presentation and aesthetic aren't that enticing, the unique challenge of qomp2 manages to shine through.

Through a total of 30 stages, you guide a singular ball through lightly labyrinthine segments that will test your patience and timing. At your disposal are a mere two moves: a charge that propels you ball forward quickly in the direction it’s traveling, and a switch in orientation that allows you to shift from moving diagonally up to moving diagonally down and vice versa. The only way to swap from moving right to left is by bouncing off a wall or other surface. What this means is that you can spend a lot of time waiting for your ball to travel to its destination, especially if you miss a button press and send your ball careening back to a previous screen.

Some levels are as simple as tasking you with avoid spikes on walls or constantly spinning buzzsaws, like Super Meat Boy, but each new world throws a new wrinkle at you. Eventually, you'll come across waterlogged screens that mess with the physics you've become accustomed to. Other stages feature shark like enemies that chase you until they find another target to munch on. One of my favorite obstacles were doors that required you to play a game of Snake, wherein your ball left a solid trail behind it that would spell death if you happened to touch it–the margin for error here became even slimmer. That qomp2 constantly throws new problems at you to solve makes it perfect for that pick-up-and-play experience. Finishing a couple levels every night became part of my bedtime routine for a good week or so.

Where qomp2 stumbles (or whatever verb better suits a Pong ball) is in its lack of style and its boring environments. While the simplicity of the gameplay fits the plain-looking stages, the drabness is hard to ignore as you make your way from world to world. There are brief punctuations of color that indicate blocks that can be broken or shifted or targets that you need to destroy, but it would have been a very welcome shift to see at least a new color palette somewhere. Similarly, the very faint soundtrack is only notable for the way it allows the generic sound effects to stand out, which isn't a strength.

Even if it won't win any style points for its visuals or sound, qomp2 is an enjoyable and light experience that boils video games down to their essence. Bouncing a ball off paddles, through corridors, and around danger makes for a two or three-hour runtime that doesn't overstay its welcome and manages to hold your attention throughout. There's a familiarity to the proceedings that's deceptively comfortable, and therein lies qomp2’s greatest trick: it feels like something you've played, but you haven't. And while I don't have a problem with going back to Pong for a few rounds, I was happy to invest significantly more time than that in this oddly-named psuedo-sequel.