23rd Nov2018

‘Varion’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

varion-screen

There’s nothing like getting some friends gathered around a console and spending some time blowing each other away in digital form. If this is something that you partake in, Varion will scratch that itch but feels suited more for quick blasts than a full-on session.

Varion is a neon-drenched Deathmatch game featuring four tanks where the twist is that only ricocheting bullets can kill, this means that the aim of the game is to carefully aim in the game… at a wall or perhaps several walls!

As basic as the premise initially seems, there’s actually a lot of balancing going on in the background. Whilst the controls are deceptively simple, it uses a twin-stick setup for moving and aiming (the game is viewed from an isometric perspective) and the triggers are your dash and shoot buttons. To stop button-mashing, the game implements a three-tiered auto-charging meter, meaning that you can dash and shoot twice or any variation of, but after this you will be vulnerable and that brief amount of time that it takes your energy to recharge could be fatal as rounds routinely last less than ten seconds. Points are awarded per kill with bonus points up for grabs for fulfilling certain requirements such as shooting all the players in one round etc.

The slick, smooth visuals are accompanied by a throbbing cyberpunk sound track and chunky laser effects. There are pick-ups scattered around the claustrophobic arenas (which unlock as you play through them) but dashing out to grab a shield or buzz-saw melee attack is always risky as the hectic laser-fire pings satisfyingly of the glass walls surrounding your tanks.

The sheer speed of the game and the chance of random, bouncing shots taking out enemies from some distance away meant that there was always a slight random factor that we all really enjoyed. In multiplayer games no one person ever seemed to charge out in front with loads of point as there was always the possibility of someone sneaking up from behind by having an awesome round or two, those we played with really enjoyed this one and the ricochet mechanic is a neat twist.

There are quite a wide variety of vehicles on offer which have slightly different balancing qualities on three separate stats but none feel particularly unfair, it all comes down to personal preference. The only issue I really have with the game is the longevity, much like other arena-based Deathmatch games like Lupinball and Dynasty Feud, the games are far more suited for a quick blast before moving onto something with more weight and perhaps a story or definite ending. That said, it also means that games like Varion tends to hang around hard drives for longer, their pick-up-and-play appeal and accessibility meaning that they are the perfect starter for a night of friends and drinks.

Right, I’m off to bounce some shots around to get some serious angular action going on.

Varion is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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