Warshmallows (PC) Review
Death doesn’t mean done
Challenge pacing feels right
Lack of music beyond title
Only 4 playable characters
Powers can drastically change game
The whole world is quite well versed in platform fighting games, and with Nintendo putting out quality games with such high polish, it’s hard to stand out. Since quality can’t be beat, that means idea and gameplay mechanics that are new and fresh have to be your bread and butter which is where Warshmallows can play on even ground.
With no real story to speak of, other than there are multiple living marshmallows intent on defeating one another, there isn’t much to go on. But with an arena battler, that’s not really an issue either. With a few different characters to choose from, all with different abilities, it’s nice to have some choices beyond aesthetics that can actually change the flow of the game. You can jump, shoot, fly for a while, and use a super power to kill anyone you can. There are multiple platforms from which to attack, but also portals that allows you to transport amid the map instantly which vastly changes how you move to win. There are of course also items that can be picked up that radically change the tides very quickly, like a better gun or different attack.
Beyond the setting, the gameplay is similar to others in that there is the main attack, shooting, close up melee attacks, and a dash that lets you move in and out quickly, but has a small timer so you can’t spam it. There is also a flying mechanic that lets you float around for a while and though its slow, you can really save yourselves by getting to a new platform when you are out of your double jump with flying. It is a lot of chaos, but the main goal is to shoot your enemy, not to knock them out of the ring like other games. To avoid this fate, there is a time slowing effect when a bullet gets near you that allows you some movement to get out of danger. This sounds like a great idea, but when there so many bullets flying all over the place, this slowdown happens nearly constantly and can really be a hindrance more than a help.
The choices for movement and attack are varied and there’s some real strategy to move about the map effectively, but with the time slow and the marshmallows themselves blending into the background too much, so it’s actually quite difficult to discern where you are and what you are doing. It gets easier to spot once you “die” because then you become wrapped up and are sort of out of play from there. That said, unlike basically any other arena game, even your defeat is strategic. Because you’re wrapped up and can roll around, you can get in peoples’ way, you can deflect bullets in front of someone you like, and can change the course of the battle even after your defeat. This importance of defeated body placement and continued involvement in the game after death is a novel concept in this game and is very inclusive for players of lower ability.
Warshmallows will never have the level of polish that the big names can offer, but it’s fun, chaotic, and quick with multiplayer couch co-op, which you don’t see too often. It needs some help with visuals keeping the character distinct from the background but if you want some cheap fun with an arena battler, then this is for you.