A colorful puzzle-platformer that offers brain-twisting obstacles with its unique twist through multi-layered stages.
Few genres are as recognizable or iconic as the platformer. It has produced gaming icons such as Mario, Crash Bandicoot and Sonic the Hedgehog, making its presence one of the pillars of video game history. It is also a very popular genre for indie developers. Titles such as Rogue Legacy and Super Meat Boy are legendary platformers whose influences on the genre are still felt today. World Splitter by developer NeoBird for the Nintendo Switch seeks to leave its mark on the genre with its unique multidimensional approach to level design to create a fun and head-scratching experience through its colorful worlds.
You are an interstellar mooseman who has crash-landed on a mysterious planet. In addition, the aliens you were transporting scattered when your ship met the ground. This means it’s up to you to find them all in this mysterious world. From the start, World Splitter drops you into its world and hits you with its main attraction, the multiple dimensions of its levels. The world is, well, split into two or more stages that blend together using your shoulder buttons and right thumbstick to rotate the split-screen separating them. This allows you to adjust the angles and rotation direction to blend the stages together and recover your missing alien passengers. From using a pillar that only exists in one stage as a platform, or making it lift you up to a higher one by tilting the screen, the dual-stage gameplay is fun and interesting. It’s a unique mechanic that forces you to think about two places at once, with interesting mechanics and stage elements that are added to each world.
Each of World Splitters six worlds offer ten stages to get through. While you don’t need to complete every stage in a world to unlock the next one, each one will bring a new element or obstacle to the world. These could be as simple as the ability to jump or the addition of new enemies in order to force you to change your strategy. Each of these new elements feels rewarding to experience when you reach them and gives the game a satisfying sense of progression. You also don’t need to collect all of the sharp-toothed aliens on these stages to pass them, only get to the other end of the screen. This combines with two other scores to solidify this feeling by awarding you bronze, silver or gold medals for completion time and how much you rotated the stage. It all comes together to create an intense gameplay experience that rewards a wide variety of playstyles for its hair-pulling puzzle-solving.
While similar, multiplayer in World Splitter offers more fun and engaging challenges. Each player has their own astronaut, along with their own dimensional split. This makes stages incredibly dynamic and interesting to overcome in a co-op setting. While it isn’t online-enabled, the co-op multiplayer offers great fun and an interesting experience for those who love to tackle puzzles together.
This mind-twisting gameplay is all presented in a bright and colorful package with an old-school charm. The brief cutscenes feel akin to classic Flash games, giving them a unique nostalgic feeling to anyone with a soft spot for the recently-departed platform. Each dimension of each stage is its own level with its own color scheme, giving it an exciting visual appeal that works hand-in-hand with the gameplay. Add in a contemplative soundtrack with a relaxing vibe and you’ve got a game with an aesthetic as creative as its main gameplay mechanic.
While the gameplay is engaging and robust, World Splitter’s calming aesthetic is a necessary one. The game can become frustrating quite quickly as ways to die aren’t always noticeable, going beyond conventional platforming woes such as sneaky pitfalls or awkward enemy placement. Rotating the stage around can have unintended consequences if performed near walls, which can result in your character teleporting into the wall and dying. Rotating can also send you flying into the air if you hit the odd angle on a platform. These hiccups result in trial-and-error moments of frustration that feel awkward in an otherwise solid experience. Throw in a bare-bones narrative and a couple of uneventful upgrades and you’ve got a game that doesn’t lend itself well to long play sessions.
World Splitter is a fun and creative take on the puzzle-platformer genre. There is a lot to love in its colorful, relaxed world and its interesting take on puzzle-solving. The feeling of experiencing multiple stages in one is interesting and feels authentic as each layer of each stage has its own color palette and atmosphere to it. This is especially true in the multiplayer where each player has control of their own splitter and shows off the intuitive triple-layered level designs. While it has moments of trial-and-error frustration and lacks an interesting narrative, World Splitter more than makes up for it with an interesting take on puzzle-solving in the platformer genre.
– Bright, colorful world
– Unique world-splitting mechanic
– Interesting level design
– Fun multiplayer
– Quirky rotation mechanics
– Frustrating trial-and-error moments
4 out of 5
Review code given by Homerun PR. World Splitter is out now on Nintendo Switch!