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Incredible Mandy (Switch) Review

by Matthew Zawodniak - November 8, 2019, 7:24 am PST
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5

It’s more of a Credible Mandy.

Incredible Mandy is a puzzle platforming game where you play as a boy trying to recover his lost memories of his sister. Many puzzles revolve around the player’s ability to summon magic swords that can detonate into a burst of energy, triggering nearby switches and causing various other puzzle-solving effects to occur. It’s overall a very simple game, which could work if the core mechanics were solid. Unfortunately Incredible Mandy is also very rough around the edges with a number of issues that don’t amount to a bad game per se, but they do make it tough to relax and enjoy the simpler puzzle-solving at play.

The first stage drops you into a tutorial that walks you through every aspect of the game’s controls; except for, oddly, using the roll dodge to squeeze under a tight space. This is never taught to you, but is a required action right at the beginning of the second stage. The tutorial is dreadfully slow, giving you plenty of time to realize just how clunky the controls are. The main character - whose name is never revealed, but I assume is Mandy - feels sluggish to respond to inputs, making it very tedious having to run back and forth between two points often to progress. The worst is the motion controls attached to the bow, which have horizontal turning mapped to a totally different axis of rotation on the controller than pretty much every other game I’ve ever played. The platforming is also hampered by the game’s habit of occasionally stalling. That a game with such a simple art style struggles with its framerate at all is disappointing, but it is incredibly frustrating to miss a jump because the game engine couldn’t manage to keep up with you.

Mandy’s magical swords are the most interesting part of the mechanics, but even they betray how tedious gameplay can be. You can summon multiple swords at once that can be chained together, allowing your energy burst to travel across the chain, detonating each sword along the way. It’s not really a compelling idea on its own so much as it is the one kind of unique thing Incredible Mandy has going for it. The animations of placing each sword and then eventually charging your energy burst to detonate them are too long for how often you’ll be seeing them, and I felt like they were only serving to pad my playtime. The magic meter that limits how many swords you can place at once is also an extraneous time waster. You’ll have to go out of your way to place more swords than you have magic for, and since every single puzzle has a fountain to restore your magic nearby, I couldn’t help but wonder why they even bothered with the meter in the first place every time I had to go fill it up.

The end of each stage has a boss fight, and the bosses are just another layer of tedium since you’ll have to spend a lot of time waiting around for them to show their weak point or otherwise put themselves into a position to be attacked. They all last much longer than the time it takes for them to stop being interesting, and I honestly dreaded each one as I made it to the end of every stage.

The best thing Incredible Mandy has going for it is its aesthetic, which is pretty alright. I didn’t find it particularly unique since it’s mostly basic environments with minimalist textures, but it’s easy on the eyes. The soundtrack is also very relaxing, filled with mellow piano pieces that are understated enough to blend into the soundscape beautifully. Sadly the artstyle and music never really rise above “pretty alright,” adding to the overall whelming impression left on me.

Incredible Mandy is not bad, it’s just also not good. It just kind of is. Aside from the clunky controls and tedious animations, nothing about the game is really offensive, but there’s just no hook that managed to keep me invested up to the end. The aesthetic is overall eye-catching, but it can’t hide the fact that Incredible Mandy is simply not that incredible. There’s nothing wrong with a simple game, but simplicity only works if there’s a high level of polish to back it up.

Summary

Pros
  • Pretty artstyle
  • Relaxing soundtrack
Cons
  • Bad controls
  • Tedious pace and animations

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Game Profile

Genre Action
Developer
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: Incredible Mandy
Release Nov 07, 2019
PublisherCIRCLE Ent.
RatingTeen
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