17th Jul2017

‘Vaccine’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

Vaccine

Find a vaccine for your infected friend before the time runs out, but be aware your friend will relapse sooner or later and you will have to find a new vaccine in a new randomly rebuilt house. Will you be able uncover the mystery to save your friend once and for all?

Sounds easy right? Wrong!

Remember the days of the ORIGINAL Resident Evil, when jumo scares and the odd control system used to both scare and frustrate you? Well Vaccine is completely inspired by those 90s survival horror games – Resident Evil, Dino Crisis etc… As with the Capcom classic Vaccine allows you to choose between the two members of a special response team (in this case a bio-hazard rapid response team), each starting with their own unique differential abilities. Trapped in a strange house populated by dangerous mutated creatures – both lumbering and agile, walking and flying. Travesing the many rooms of the house, you have to not only find a vaccine for your team mate but also stay alive yourself. And each time you do find the vaccine and restore your team member, the infection returns and the houses layout resets and rebuilds at random.

Thankfully, the more you play Vaccine the more experience points you gain and you can level up your skillset in ways you think will be more beneficial to your style of gameplay – which adds more of an RPG-like element to this action-orientated game and more depth to proceedings, epecially compared to the games this particular title is inspired by.

When it comes to appearance, Vaccine looks, feels, sounds and plays just like the original Resident Evil. There’s absolutely no getting away from that. In fact thats part of the charm of the game – whilst it presents a new story and a new RPG element, the game really rides on the nostaglia it generates for a more simpler, yet more difficult, style of gaming. The pixelated graphics recapture the 32-bit era they’re inspired by perfectly and the use of the static camera adds to the feeling of terror – as it did back in the day. What adds to the tension is the time limit. You have 30 minutes. Yes, just 30 minutes to find the vaccine, not die, and get back to your team member – and remember, the houses layout keeps changing each time you play, so there’s no remembering routes, rooms, etc.

Having played through the game numerous times on the Switch I think Vaccine actually plays BETTER on the handheld. Popping on some headphones, cranking up the volume and staring into the Switch’s screen means you can really get lost in the game. Even if you’ll be tearing your hair out on many occassion too… But that’s also part of the appeal: the difficulty makes the game feel like something of a puzzler – you have to figure out to not only find your way around the house, but also how to get by the infected without a weapon, because believe me the knife you’re permanently equipped with is almost useless(!), and when you do have a weapon, good look not running out of bullets!

What also works in Vaccine‘s favour is the pick up and play aspect of the Switch. The thirty-minute time limit works perfectly on the console, allowing you to get a quick play in whenever and wherever – and because playing allows you to gain XP, no matter how badly you do, it’s never a wasted game.

**** 4/5

Vaccine is available on the Nintendo Switch now, via the eShop, priced £8.99 / $9.99 / €9.99

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