Marooners is an indie party game that feels like the bizarre love child of Lord of the Flies and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. With one part cute and three parts cutthroat, it offers a variety of minigames, characters, and weapons to aid in the destruction of your friendships. Originally released on the PC and now available on the Switch, Marooners feels like the perfect partner for this multiplayer-focused console.
Having the same content as the deluxe edition, Marooners offers two different game modes with two different styles that revolve around the same format. Gameplay is divided into six short rounds, with each round awarding loot to players based on performance. At the end of those rounds, players’ scores are combined to determine an overall winner. The first mode is Party, where players compete in various challenges to score points. The second is Arena, where players compete in a free-for-all to see who lasts the longest. The styles are called linear and chaotic. With Linear, each round is played to completion from start to finish. However, in Chaotic, players jump from round to round at randomly timed intervals but ultimately still completing every round.
Unfortunately, the problems the existed in the PC version still apply. First, despite having several different minigames, they all tend to blend together. Almost all of the party games are just a combination of gathering and dodging. Even when playing Chaotic most of the confusion comes from the abrupt position change rather than any particular rule change. Also, the two modes aren’t all that different. Arena mode focuses on the elimination of players rather than the gathering of loot, but since none of the physics were changed, it just feels like a duller version of Party mode.
Graphics and sound appear to have crossed platforms well. As before, the style is very cartoonish, seemingly concentrating on humor rather than anything else. Character design is both cute and silly, with larger heads and smaller bodies. Level design seems to be based on pirate lore, having some combination of water, jungle, and ancient ruins. And as with gameplay, the problems still haven’t changed. The most annoying being that with the fixed camera angle and color options, it is tough to keep track of your character. Though some colors are worse than others, your character tends to blend into the background, making it very hard to know who’s who.
Marooners is an amusing diversion from more serious titles. With its simple gameplay and multiplayer format, it seems like a perfect fit for the Switch console. However, because of its repetitive nature, it has limited replayability for most players. Still, as Nintendo and party games go together like peanut butter and chocolate, it’s worth adding this to your growing library.
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