IN-VERT (Switch) Review
Challenging puzzles are satisfying to solve
The simple retro graphics complement the color swapping gameplay well
The controls add unfair difficulty to already tricky platforming
The presentation sometimes feels more low effort than retro
IN-VERT may sometimes feel like a cute robot destruction simulator, but, instead, is a new puzzle platformer for Nintendo Switch. As a tiny robot searches for its master, it must switch between dimensions while solving puzzles and hopping through perilous environments. For players, this translates to a gauntlet of impossibly precise platforming, puzzles that require plenty of thought, and piles of dead robots.
Solving the puzzles can be extremely satisfying, which helps the game dodge controller-tossing levels of frustration. The robot has quite a few interesting ways of interacting with the environment, all left to the player to discover. These abilities are creatively used, turning the simple looking levels into challenging, but never unsolvable puzzles.
When IN-VERT does become frustrating, it’s because of the platforming. Though the controls can sometimes be precise, they often feels deliberately slippery, with post-jump skids killing my robot dozens, if not hundreds of times. The bosses are even worse. Uneven hit detection and imprecise controls leave the boss fights not just difficult, but infuriating.
IN-VERT’s presentation is unexceptional, but not unpleasant. The pixel graphics are extremely cute. Their simplicity keeps the graphics clear and easy to follow, even through the fastest bits of the color swapping gameplay. The simplicity of the larger boss sprites veers towards sloppiness, but the effect isn’t jarring enough to hurt the gameplay.
The game’s music is also fine. There aren’t many tracks, but what’s there is relaxing enough to cut the frustration-induced tension. The sound effects are also limited and just as inoffensive. The between-world story segments are presented silently and could have used some proofreading, but the charming still illustrations make up for it.
IN-VERT is a rather short game. The five worlds, containing 15 short levels each, are brief enough that, if they’re played well, they can be finished fairly quickly. This leaves most of the game’s length to come from restarting levels after countless deaths. There are also crystals to collect scattered throughout the game. Getting to them requires additional puzzle solving and down to the pixel platforming, significantly adding to the game’s length and challenge.
If you’re looking for a deliberately challenging platform game with plenty of puzzles and simple pixel graphics, IN-Vert isn’t the worst thing that you could download. It’s not always fair, and the retro aesthetic sometimes feels a bit low effort. For five dollars, however, there are worse reasons to spend a few hours cursing a Nintendo Switch.