I’ve said it many times before that the Nintendo Switch is becoming the center of indie gems. You can’t go 2 days on the Switch eShop without finding some new, sometimes existing, indie gems. One of the newest gems to come to the Switch is Zarvot. Don’t ignore this game! It may have a strange name, and you may think it’s just like other indie games. However, Zarvot is a charming, interesting, and truly unique experience you shouldn’t miss. Trust me on this one, you’re going to love Zarvot.
Zarvot takes place in a world of cubes where you play as the cube named Charcoal. You and your friend, Mustard, are searching for a gift for your other friend, Red. Along the way you’ll encounter different types of enemies that want to destroy you. You can fight theses enemies by jumping, shooting, and dashing your way around the 3D environment your placed in.
One of the things that impressed me right away with Zarvot is its charm. It could be easy to look at this game and say, “How am I going to care about these 2 cubes?”. However, through very clever and humorous writing, the characters really start to charm you. The characters even break the fourth wall, which leads to some funny situations. In one instance early in the game, the character Mustard somehow finds a way to get onto your (the real life player) screen. Charcoal will ask Mustard how he got up there and then tell him to get down. Although Mustard does, he has a few funny words to say to you before he rejoins Charcoal. It’s small things like this that make the characters grow on you and make you invested in their story.
I also really enjoyed the gameplay itself. The gameplay starts off like a linear level where you shoot enemies and blocks to progress. As the game goes on and you get to boss battles, the gameplay opens up to larger 3D arena-like areas. Enemies will try to surround you, and it’s up to you to stay focused and take them all out. It can get a little frantic sometimes but never overwhelming. I like that the game ramps up difficulty as well. Early enemies and bosses aren’t too hard, but later ones slowly ramp up to become real challenges. Most of the battles involve some real world object coming to life in the game; each battle feels different, and the bosses use different mechanics to try to defeat you. It makes the game feel fresh and fun throughout its 12 chapters. There are also a number of game modes for you to explore. There’s the single-player story mentioned above, a single-player arcade mode, and a local versus mode. The arcade mode is fun but is nothing more than being dropped in an area and shooting enemies for high scores. The local versus mode is a lot of fun for 2-4 players and features different game modes like Elimination or Deathmatch. It’s a fun game mode to play with friends or family, but Zarvot really shines in its single-player story.
From a presentation standpoint, the game looks and plays great on Nintendo Switch. It doesn’t try for photorealistic graphics; however, it does a great job of combining real world object visuals with colorful characters. I’ve heard one person mention that, from a visual standpoint, it reminds them of Pikmin, and I’d have to agree. Regardless of how you play the game on Nintendo Switch (docked or handheld), the game looks and runs great. In many ways, playing the game in handheld mode was even better; it was one of those games that looks amazing on the Switch’s screen. It should also be mentioned how good the music is. I was impressed with how well the music fit whatever was going on in the game. Nothing felt repetitive, and none of the music felt out of place for any scene that was playing.
My only real complaint for Zarvot is the camera. While I didn’t have many issues with it, there were some instances when I wished I had the option to move the camera, but I couldn’t. The camera is at a fixed angle at all times. This was really the only issue I had with the game, and it was a small issue at that.
Developer: Snowhydra Games
Publisher: Snowhydra Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 18th October 2018