Sometimes it’s difficult to fully explain a unique game correctly. Perhaps it blends a bunch of things together from various styles and genres that to describe it would do it no justice. Other times the wacky, mixed together nature of a unique game just, simply put, is impossible to describe. Vitamin Connection is unique in that it falls in both those categories. It’s a shmup (shoot-’em-up), maze runner, mini-game collection, co-op experience mixed together with a j-pop vibe. It both works at all those things and misses the mark. Vitamin Connection is a good game, if a bit disjointed.
In Vitamin Connection you control Vita-Boy and Mina-Girl (yeah, I know), who co-pilot a pill-sized vehicle through a family, including the dog. Your goal is to take out all the viruses infecting the family by blasting away the viruses. This can either be done on your own or through couch co-op with a friend.
If there’s something that WayForward does incredibly well, it is making a game look good. Its unique, colorful art style makes it feel something like Snipperclips while also having a unique feel that allows it to be its own thing. Its colorful world and characters, along with some good music, make it a very aesthetically pleasing game. What really makes Vitamin Connection shine is its couch co-op. Much like Snipperclips, Vitamin Connection is a game that you can play solo, but the fun of yelling at your friend/family member next to you adds to the enjoyment. Communication is key in co-op as one player controls movement and firing, while the second player controls tilting and aiming. In my opinion, Vitamin Connection is a game you need to play through co-op. On your own, the game is fine and probably a bit easier. However, the fun and moderate annoyance you have with yelling at someone else to complete the game is just too good to miss.
The problem with Vitamin Connection, whether playing solo or co-op, is rotation. You can either use the shoulder buttons or literally tilt your Joy-Con to rotate your ship, which is critical to move through the levels. The problem is that neither method works extremely well. The shoulder buttons simply move your ship around way too much, making minor adjustments nearly impossible to accomplish. The option to physically move the Joy-Con to rotate is equally bad as the physical movement of Joy-Cons are unreliable at precise movement. In games where moving through mazes and avoiding objects is key to success, being able to rotate your ship properly is a bit of a miss.
Much like mini-games in the Mario Party series, Vitamin Connection’s mini-games are very hit or miss. Some mini-games are extremely good, like Escaper. In this mini-game, you have to race your ship as fast as possible through a series of incredibly tight mazes. It’s surprisingly a lot of fun and was the only mini-game that I felt I needed to play again and again. The other mini-games are mostly a mixed bag of alright to forgettable. The next closest good mini-game would be the rhythm-based one that makes you twist, clap and move in rhythm to the prompts on-screen.
In reality, the above statement about mini-games is a great way to describe Vitamin Connection as a whole. It has moments of great fun and enjoyment, making it a game you can’t wait to jump back into, yet it’s very inconsistent. Vitamin Connection has a very fun style with in visuals and presentation, but its control scheme (rotation specifically) makes it a hard to control game. Vitamin Connection’s blend of various game genres make for a unique game experience, yet most of the blends of genres are mixed bags of good to not great. As a whole, it’s a good game. It’s just a game full of half worked out ideas that are blended together to provide an inconsistent experience.
Publisher: Limited Run Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 20th February 2020