De Mambo (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 10.07.2017

Review for De Mambo on Nintendo Switch

Perhaps more than any era before, this generation has been leaning towards and prioritising a very specific type of platformer. Short levels with a high risk of death and a lack of serious repercussions have become a mainstay, especially in the past year alone. Upcoming Mario and Sonic titles look to promise the traditional platforming experience but indie developers seem to have taken a shine to the quick burst style of running and jumping. De Mambo on Nintendo Switch is the latest of those fast-paced platformers and it brings it own twists to a style of game that's slowly becoming commonplace.

Unlike most quick burst platformers, De Mambo injects a considerable amount of tension into each stage by giving death an arcade-like sense of consequence. The goal of each stage is rarely as simple as getting to the end due to the, at times, overwhelming amount of obstacles. Each world, likewise, has a set number of lives and a complete absence of breaks in-between levels. One death isn't a major setback as the respawn time is, true to form, rather quick but a game over means starting over entirely.

Given the nature of De Mambo's design, this seems a bit overwhelming at first glance. The design philosophy behind short levels with no lives is one that's meant to encourage a higher ratio of legitimately difficult platforming scenarios, after all. Despite this, the gameplay actually thrives all the more from the added tension.

Screenshot for De Mambo on Nintendo Switch

The amount of lives given per world is generous and meant more to encourage an understanding of the controls than to punish a lack thereof. Mambos are floaty and move incredibly fast, but they also stiffen up and can lock in place when hurt by an enemy. This stiffness can easily lead to a lost life as a damaged Mambo is capable of breaking the level apart and creating bottomless pits.

Lives serve a vital purpose here since they instinctively discourage reckless play styles that would try to trial and error each stage instead of getting by based off of merit. Mambos are meant to be controlled with a level of precision that's akin to a dance and the longer it takes to understand that, the worse the later stages will end up being.

Screenshot for De Mambo on Nintendo Switch

Each Mambo has access to a triple jump and a basic attack that can be charged up twice for three tiers of attacking. Any given movement can send the Mambo flying across the screen, so gameplay isn't so much a matter of careful precision but one of on-the-fly improvisation. Anything can go wrong, but mastering when to jump and when to charge ensures that solo play will be much smoother.

Given how dangerous the stages gradually become, it's nice to see that the environment and aesthetic of De Mambo is just as hostile. Stage layouts are otherworldly and the soundtrack has a foreboding presence that gives weight to a world that otherwise would have come off as zany or silly. A variety of objectives per world keep stages from feeling derivative of one another. Auto-scrollers, find the key labyrinths, and the occasional boss fight keep the single-player feeling fresh with their rotation.

Screenshot for De Mambo on Nintendo Switch

Enemies truly seem alien-like, not just in design but in how dangerous they can be. Survival mode consists of waves of enemies and the combination of the increasingly fast music with aliens that can destroy the environment in one attack makes for a malicious atmosphere that's seldom found in a platformer.

Alongside the single-player content is a multiplayer that unfortunately doesn't pack the same punch. It's meant to be a Smash Bros.-esque brawler using the base mechanics but, with no option for online play, it feels rather lifeless. That said, though, local multiplayer is genuinely fun and the chaos of destroying a stage while trying to knock other characters off it is an incredibly novel idea. De Mambo's eccentricity and intensity might be off-putting compared to what else is available on the market, but its unique and arcade-like approach to modern platforming is a welcome change of pace.

Screenshot for De Mambo on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

While De Mambo might not be the most friendly platformer or accessible party fighter, its frantic play-style and unsettling atmosphere make it one of the most unique titles available for the Nintendo Switch. A lack of online multiplayer does stick as a rather big disappointment, but the single-player content and local multiplayer more than make up for a lack of global mamboing. Between dance-like controls and a single-player that's equal parts addictive and challenging, De Mambo not only manages to be an engagingly speedy platformer, it excels at it.

Developer

The Dangerous Kitchen

Publisher

The Dangerous Kitchen

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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