30th Jul2019

Digital Shorts: ‘Fobia’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition Britt takes a look at Fobia, yet another mobile port available on the Nintendo Switch.

fobia-screen-1

A port to the Switch of a mobile game Fobia manages to cram all the things that irk me about platformers into a game that lasts well under an hour.

Playing a red-coated protagonist with a hidden face, the aim of the game is to simply progress to the right, making your way past any obstacles that make themselves known (or not, as the case may be). As a game designed to appear ambient and artistic, the bold visuals are initially attractive but fail to evolve into anything throughout the duration of the game although the sound effects and music used are pleasant with the crunching foot-steps etc. especially being quite tasty. The puzzles and traps you come up against are both basic and trial and error based, things hurtle at you from off-screen, random sections collapse and sometimes my character either flew up the screen or just keeled over, I assume due to some glitch in an unseen on-screen trap.. The real deal-breaker for me though was the feeling of never quite being in control of my character and their movements.

Sometimes I would just fail jumps or the character would do a weird half-jump that would see me falling down a pit. There was one section where I had to leap across a few collapsing pillars, platforming 101…but the cracks in game design were so rich here that it took several attempts just to make it past this, unresponsive controls, janky collision detection and unfair insta-deaths…it simply wasn’t fun.

fobia-screen-2

I played Fobia for around half an hour and eventually lost my temper with it, each section I passed just felt like a war of attrition as opposed to enjoyable progress, even though you have infinite lives and restart instantly, the constant fight against the glitchy design and controls won out. I had a quick goosey on YouTube and found out that I was less than two minutes away from the end of the game and so really felt that I hadn’t missed much of what it had to offer.

I know Fobia is only a few quid but it just feels unfinished and, essentially, didn’t feel a valuable use of my time. On a train as a free download for a mobile, I can see how this would be a quick time killer for some people but on the Switch it feels like a pre-release demo, a hard one to recommend for anyone and one I certainly won’t be returning to.

Fobia is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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