Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: eShop download
Category: Party, Multiplayer, Platformer, Racing
No. of Players: up to 4 players
Release Date: July 16th, 2020 (EU & NA)
Price: $9.99 USD
Never Breakup is a co-op title developed by indie developer ISVR and published by indienova for the Nintendo Switch. This title was originally released on PC via Steam some time ago. However, it has long since been removed from the store.
There isn’t a narrative for Never Breakup. Your objective is to complete a series of levels and get from the start to the end goal whilst avoiding obstacles. Fortunately, this title doesn’t need a plot to keep the game going, as the whole adventure can be beaten in about an hour or two.
In Never Breakup, two animals are attached to a short-lengthed rope and your objective is to work with the limitations to your advantage. Having a cord prevent you from going too far from the other player means you’ll have to work in conjunction with the other to get to the end goal (which is a bowl by the way).
You move around with the analog stick, jump, swallow the other player and spit them out with “X”, “ZR” to hold firmly onto the ground or grab a crate, and “A” to retract the rope and/or pull the other player towards you. If a player is eaten, there’s no way of freeing yourself until spitted out.
There isn’t a huge variety of enemy types, roughly four to five throughout your entire playthrough. Spitting a player is your main way to defeat them, though wrapping around them is also an option. If you’re defeated you’ll drop your coins, but they can be easily picked up by sticking to the ground for a bit.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
Never Breakup has two modes, “Adventure Mode” and “Mini Games”. The first one is the campaign mode where you go through six worlds (known as Chapters), with seven levels each. Each world introduces a new mechanic, that being bounce pads or boost pads, wind fans or ice platforms, just to name a few. Each level has a set amount of coins and one collectible (known as hidden items) that can be found off the beaten path.
Mini-Games is the second mode where you can play from 2 to 4 players. There are three modes in total, which are unlocked with hidden items. By the time you reach the halfway point of Chapter 2, you’ll have likely unlocked all three minigames. Unlike Adventure Mode, in this one, the game ditches the rope and lets players move freely, unattached to one another.
“Carrot Scramble” has you putting carrots into your circle to score points. “Soccer Game” is about scoring goals into the opponent’s soccer goal. And finally, arguably the best one out of the three, “Armed Brawl” which is all about using different weapons to defeat the other player. The first two are extremely simplistic and get boring after the first 30 seconds of playing. The latter minigame is enjoyable because of how hectic it gets, this is likely due to how overpowered some weapons are (I’m looking at you, Sword and Spell Book…).
The final “mode” is Gachapon, where you spend 150 coins collected through Adventure Mode to randomly unlock either a new animal or wearable hats (known as trinkets). You get roughly 150 coins every two levels, but unfortunately, that isn’t enough to get all the unlockables in one playthrough. You’ll have to return to past stages to farm some coin for the remaining ones. There are 25 animals to unlock (essentially alternate costumes) and 18 trinkets.
There isn’t really much to talk about in this regard, the soundtrack of Never Breakup is composed of your average level tunes. It’s fine for the levels but nothing stands out nor is it memorable. I mainly played with the game muted while I listened to my own music since none of the tracks were all that enjoyable to me.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
The visuals for Never Breakup are quite bland and the different areas of the game are pretty generic overall. There isn’t really anything that stands out. For what it is worth though, it gets the job done. Animal designs are cute though, I personally liked using the Snail.
As regards the game’s general performance, it actually runs fine. As far as I could tell, there really aren’t any frame rate drops or resolution issues. The loading times are alright and don’t take too long. That said though, it would’ve been nice to have the game load a bit faster after each defeat.
Although Never Breakup is a co-op game at its core, most if not all levels can be beaten by one character. The swallow mechanic lets you carry the second character from start to finish, and the level design never forces two-player specific challenges, so it’s possible to beat the game as one character. Additionally, the difficulty never ramps up or demands to get better. The levels range between easy to medium difficulty at most.
Hidden Items are useless once you unlock all three mini-games. With 42 in total, it’s a waste that less than 10 are used at all. The same can be said for the forgettable Achievements menu, which is a list of simple objectives that are completed by playing through the game. The player isn’t rewarded for doing these and you’ll likely forget it’s even a thing since it’s hidden away in some “Extra” menu. Both collectibles are pointless and there’s no incentive to replay the game to unlock everything.
Controls are fine for co-op but quite frustrating in single player. You can’t move both characters at the same time, which is odd since the second analog stick isn’t used for anything important. The second analog is used for the “Free camera” (which by the way, is sluggish to move around and permanently inverted). When in single-player, this should be turned off to give players accessibility to control both characters, similar to how Death Squared (another co-op game, developed by SMG Studio) works.
Never Breakup is simplistic and it’s an overall forgettable experience. That said, I would recommend it for small kids looking to kill some time.
THE VERDICT: 6/10
*A download key was provided by the Publisher for the purposes of this review
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Tags: indienova, ISVR, Never Breakup, Never Breakup Review, Never Breakup Switch Review, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch
This post was written by Lucas Sierra