Nintendo have got a cracking little console in their hands with the Switch. It’s carved itself nicely into the indie games market too, and due to its portability, feels like a natural home for so many of these games when compared to its larger rivals. There’s nothing quite like curling up in bed, switching off the lights and settling in for a few hours of quality gaming. The latest game perfectly matched for such a session is Perchang.
It plays similarly to Lemmings, but instead of directionally challenged little creatures, it’s balls that you need to guide successfully to the goal. Described as a “puzzle action strategy game” it couldn’t do anything more in its attempts to win me over. The game was originally released for iOS around three years ago and now Perchang has now made the leap to Switch, and has been catapulted into the mainstream gaming spotlight.
If you’re too young to remember Lemmings, think of Mario Vs Donkey Kong, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect with Perchang. You’ll be presented with an assault course, of sorts, and the aim is to direct the balls from the start point, to the goal. You’ll have to successfully guide a certain amount of these balls to safety before you clear the stage, and there will be a counter to show how many you need on each level. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
However, each stage will have different parts that can be manipulated in order to send the little metal balls well on their way to freedom. This will include all sorts of different objects, from flippers to fans and see-saws to sticky surfaces. Each of these can either be coloured red or blue, which you can map yourself using the A, B, X and Y buttons. Once things get a little more complicated, you’ll want to hit + to pause the action, take a breath and ponder your approach. Rather handily whilst the game is paused, you can toggle the colours of your movable parts before you start the balls rolling again, quite literally, which is a nice touch. Once you are all set, you’ll be using ZR and ZL to flip, tilt and blow your balls to the finish bucket.
The gameplay is really simple, but when coupled with clever level design, can prove to be challenging. You’ll begin with ten areas, each with five levels to play. Each level carries a medal depending on how quickly you clear it, and you’ll see your timer in the top right which will drain of each medal colour as time elapses. If you manage to achieve gold on each level, you’ll unlock a “gold rush” level for that area. These are more tricky courses, where if you make one wrong move you’ll need to start over. That’s where you will need to action a quick restart. You’ll be using that a lot.
When you clear stage 25, you’ll be able to “go into space”. This unlocks a new set of 20 courses for you to complete, and as the name suggests they look slightly different now you’re in space. Perchang has a fairly gradual difficulty curve, and as the levels get more complex, you’ll start to see multiple routes to the finish. The true challenge lies is trying to achieve gold on every stage; they are easy at first, but are “turn the air blue” difficult later on.
Perchang on Nintendo Switch looks almost entirely monochrome, apart from the splash of colour added to the parts of the stage you directly control. It helps you keep track of the action when things get frantic, and looks pretty, despite being simplistic. The game also has a cheeky and somewhat curious soundtrack which is easy, enjoyable listening. This is a relief, as you may be playing some levels again, and again, and again.
Costing just £9.99, Perchang is great value for money. It plays well, and has a decent amount of stages to complete which range from simple to fiendishly challenging. Crucially, it possesses the magic “one more go factor”, so once you pick it up, you’ll struggle to put it down.
Release date: June 2019
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review)
Massive thanks to: ChilledMouse