Not all mobile conversions coming to the Switch are awful, but this one is.
So far the Nintendo Switch has had a number of titles come over from the mobile space that have proven to be worthwhile ports. Often through sheer effort everything from presentation to controls are tweaked to make full use of what the system has to offer, making the ports seem like they were intended to be there in the first place. Boost Beast is not one of those games.
The basic setup throws your multicolored heroes into battle against waves of zombies in a cutesy, match-3 style game. Zombie hordes will vary in their size and color as well, and this will affect your strategy and what you’ll want to prioritize to match. If you don’t keep up the zombies will continue to get closer to your little hero, eventually catching him and causing the game to end. For a little added oomph you have four rechargeable “boost monsters” (they look more like goofy wizards) that will add power-up blocks or shuffle the board to hopefully improve your chances. Aside from these details there’s not a lot to it, though with it being a match-3 there typically wouldn’t be an overriding story or theme.
As for the gameplay, there’s nothing glaringly bad, but it isn’t to say that there’s anything brilliant about it either. If you’ve played any generic match-3 puzzler out there, Boost Beast won’t offer any surprises. You’ll be looking to find matches of four or five pieces to gain a variety of powered-ups that will help you clear the board more effectively. There are special blocks and obstacles that require you to match next to them or to get a match with a block of the right color to clear them. There are times where you’ll need to focus on trying to match only specific colors as much as possible. With the exception of periodic boss battles where you to take down a silly-looking larger enemy that takes on more damage, pretty much nothing in the game deviates from the base formula. If anything, there are mechanics I’ve seen in other match-3 titles that I didn’t see in Boost Beast.
Getting back to the conversion effort, controller support is present and meets the game’s limited needs. Both the Joy-Con and the Pro Controller can be used to move a cursor to choose blocks to shift. Where Boost Beast really shows a lack of love is in the move from a mobile game played vertically to the horizontally-oriented Switch. I could have seen the game going down at least two different roads in order to better fit the system’s screen. The ideal would have been to retool the levels to make them wider or perhaps even the art to make the blocks into rectangles in order to preserve all of the stages as they already exist. A secondary option, one that Namco Museum demonstrated is possible, would have been to allow the game to be played vertically while in handheld mode. Unfortunately, it does neither, instead opting to maintain the same playing field it had on mobile platforms, filling the sides with limited art and information. It doesn’t look bad on a TV or monitor, but in handheld mode the scale of the action is effectively smaller than it would be on most cellphones despite the large and luxurious Switch screen. This amounts to a major letdown and a substantial opportunity wasted.
Looking over the complete package there aren’t many notable features that make Boost Beast compelling, even for casual puzzle fans who are dying for a traditional match-3 to play on their Switch. The truth is, even if the game looks appealing to you in some form, if you have a smartphone of an average size you’re far better off getting the game in that space. It’s important for the Switch to have a diverse lineup that includes something for everyone. Unfortunately in the case of Boost Beast, even lacking an alternative for a simple and traditional match-3 experience, I have a hard time recommending it to anyone.