Author Topic: Promenade (Switch) Review Mini  (Read 411 times)

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Offline John Rairdin

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Promenade (Switch) Review Mini
« on: February 20, 2024, 04:25:00 AM »

Like Banjo Kazooie but flat.

Ever since Super Mario 64, there has been an invisible line between traditional 2D platformers, and collectathon-based 3D platformers. Promenade proudly plants a foot on each side of that line, and what results is a remarkably unique platformer that manages to squish a 3D collectathon into two dimensions–all while looking absolutely beautiful with rich, detailed animation work for players and enemies alike.

You play as Nemo, who is rescued from drowning by a tiny octopus. There is an almost a Boy and His Blob-esque nature to their friendship and it is consistently endearing. Leaving the cave you've been living in, you travel to the great elevator, where some dark entity emerges from Nemo and shatters the gears that power the elevator. So naturally, it's up to you to fix it and unravel the nature of this mysterious figure.

Gameplay centers around working your way up this elevator. At each stop you’ll find entrances to unique worlds full of fractured gears to be reassembled. Each world contains a series of challenges that are never overtly stated to the player. Instead you’ll generally stumble into them naturally through engaging with smart level design. Complete a challenge; get a piece of a gear. Within a stage, it is also possible to find a journal that lists the names of each challenge along with a checklist for completion. This can help you hunt down any missing challenges as each name is also a hint regarding the nature or location of the challenge itself. Unfortunately, world maps feel like a somewhat obvious omission as some of these stages get quite large and some even have their own substages.

Movement throughout these worlds is built heavily upon the use of your little octopus buddy as a sort of grappling hook. At the outset, you’re able to throw him to pick up enemies. Once picked up, enemies can be thrown as weapons, or chucked straight down to propel you upwards. You’ll soon unlock the ability to latch onto specific grapple points as well. Platforming puzzles in Promenade often center around making perfectly timed leaps from grapple points, grabbing enemies out of mid air, and using them to boost to unreachable areas. It's a simple mechanic but one that is used very well. All that being said, platforming can at times be a little awkward, with hitboxes not always lining up with your expectations. Still the unique way in which mechanics are employed largely smooths over these issues.

Promenade’s visual charm and unique take on the genre make it an immediately impactful title that's hard not to be drawn in by. Each world offers new challenges and the experience feels constantly fresh. It’s noticeable how some of the platforming can be a little stiff, making certain precise platforming challenges a little more frustrating than they should be. However, at the end of the day Promenade is an absolute gem that will appeal to any kind of platforming fan. Don’t let this one sneak past you.