TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 15.02.2018

Review for TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- on Nintendo Switch

Difficulty is a roadblock unlike any other. It doesn't matter how fun a game is, if it's too difficult, people will quit. That's not to say difficult doesn't have a place in game development. Some of the best videogames bolster some of the fiercest challenge. The problem with difficulty arises with pacing more than anything. A poorly paced introduction can give someone the impression that the game they are playing is harder than it actually is. It's critically important for difficulty to exist on a gradual curve that offers challenge without frustration. While it may not be frustration-free, TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- does well to present its challenge on a curve… even if that curve does ramp up relatively fast.

It should be stated immediately that TorqueL will not be an enjoyable experience for everyone. It is very much a game that demands and expects quite a bit from the player. Muscle memory, patience, and completely mechanical understanding are all necessary for making reliable, and comfortable, progress. Despite the perceived unfriendliness of the difficulty, anyone that sits down to master the controls will find themselves met with an incredibly fulfilling experience. In that regard, TorqueL finds itself in a comfortable compromise. It will prove too difficult for some, but not without offering some reward for all its challenge.

Screenshot for TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- on Nintendo Switch

Since the core gameplay is physics-based, it is actually possible to clear some stages through sheer luck. At the same time, however, this is heavily discouraged as pasting by without understanding the mechanics will swiftly lead to a roadblock that can't be overcome by just fiddling around with the controls. The premise of each stage is simple enough: get to the other side. It's a time honoured tradition found in any platformer, but the actual method of crossing the stage is far from simple. Since the play avatar is a cube, how they move is incredibly limited. The cube can move left and right by tipping itself, but it can't jump whatsoever. That's where the face buttons come into play.

Each side of the cube is colour-coded to match a button on the Joy-Con: "A" is red, "B" is yellow, "Y" is green, and "X" is blue. Whenever a colour's respective button is pressed, a large pillar emerges from the corresponding side of the cube. These pillars allow the cube to push itself away from right spaces, launch itself into the air, vault across bottomless pits, or simply walk over obstacles with precise angling. This pillar mechanic is easily one of the most creative movement schemes in gaming, allowing for an incredible amount of variety in how each stage is tackled, but it's also the core reason why TorqueL is as hard as it is.

Screenshot for TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- on Nintendo Switch

At the beginning of each stage, players can take a quick glance at the cube to remember what button each side represents. Once movement begins, however, the button cues vanish. Since the cube tips over to move, it's easy to become disoriented by just moving haphazardly. The "B" button is stationed at the bottom of the cube by default, but that doesn't mean pressing "B" will fire out the lowermost pillar. Moving the cube left or right shuffles what button launches which side. The only way to fight back confusion is to either focus intensely on how the cube is moving, or memorise the colour correlations.

Relatively short compared to later stages, the first few levels are quite forgiving and allow players to adjust to the control scheme comfortably should they have the patience. The sooner some semblance of muscle memory is developed, the easier TorqueL will be to play. Once the controls are properly understood, going from stage to stage becomes quite addictive. It's incredibly satisfying moving the cube in just the right way to reach the end of each stage, avoiding obstacles and taking advantage of the physics engine to vault or jump to otherwise inaccessible areas.

Screenshot for TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- on Nintendo Switch

With only fifty stages, the game is designed to fall on the shorter side. In fact, a timer is constantly keeping track of progress throughout every stage, encouraging speed runs. The goal of the first playthrough is less to finish the fifty stages, and more to understand the mechanics properly so future playthroughs can be completed faster. At its core, this is entirely about mechanical mastery. Putting the work in and being patient will lead to a satisfying experience where the fruits of labour are reaped thoroughly. The difficulty and learning curves are genuinely off-putting, and something to keep in mind when considering a purchase, but giving TorqueL the focus it expects is more than worth the effort.

Screenshot for TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Requiring a considerable amount of skill and muscle memory to master, TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- isn't going to be fun for everyone, but it will be endlessly rewarding for anyone willing to dedicate their patience to learning the core mechanics. The arcade-like structure allows for quick, addictive bursts of gameplay, and a difficulty curve that demands an understanding of how the gameplay works. Adjusting to the cube's rotations and remembering what button corresponds to what side will undoubtedly be difficult, but the effort pays off in spades when levels suddenly become more manageable and attention can be given to the layouts of each stage instead of the controls. TorqueL is a tough sell, especially for those looking for an immediately rewarding or relaxing experience, but it's certainly worth the labour for anyone inclined to giving it a fair chance.



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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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