The Way Remastered (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 18.04.2018 4

Review for The Way Remastered on Nintendo Switch

The name Eric Chahi is very familiar with many developers who strive for story-driven gameplay in their projects. Chahi is a figure who was responsible for such titles as Another World and the criminally underrated PlayStation classic, Heart of Darkness. Another World (Out of this World for the Americas) was particularly influential to future game developer legends, like Goichi Suda and Fumito Ueda. Its power was felt throughout the '90s and 2000s as the likes of the Oddworld series, and even the cult classic Flashback: The Quest for Identity, were influenced by Chahi's wordless cinematic platformer. Since then there have been tons of indie teams who have cited Another World as inspiration, but The Way Remastered truly wears its influence as a massive badge of honour. There are times when indies can be too reverent to the games that inspire them, though, so does The Way Remastered use its influences as a crutch, or can it stand on its own merits as a platformer adventure?

When a game mentions a beloved classic as big source of inspiration as one of the selling bullet-points, it really should, at the very least, match it on some level. The Way Remastered is not coy about how much it owes to Eric Chahi. It gets to points where it becomes derivative and distracting. What is most disappointing about The Way, is that it does not share the same level of craftsmanship of the games it is influenced by. When Chahi made Another Wold, almost entirely by himself, he agonised over the minutia of the game's animations and visuals. The Way's developer lacks the same spirit of craftsmanship and artistry. The player-character lacks fluid and life-like animation and is poorly designed; looking more like a red re-colour of Pitfall Harry from the Atari 2600. The visuals are the clichéd faux-retro look that many indie teams strive for, but they fail to truly capture that meticulous craftsmanship that designers managed with such limited resources.

In other cinematic platformers, characters tend to move with a profound sense of weight and all actions were carefully scripted to connect with one another to give the impression of a very realistic and life-like character. The Way does not really abide by these parameters and for some who are not interested in cinematic platformers, this may be a good thing. This handles more or less like any other run-of-the-mill platfomer. There is no real weight behind the character's movements and the low amount of frames of animation make the character feel pretty responsive as a result, even if it looks terrible. However, since The Way is selling itself on the terms that it is like cinematic platformers such as Another World, it should be held to a similar standard. There is basically nothing that The Way does that Another World didn't do better and that can be especially applied to how it tells its story.

Screenshot for The Way Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Before it was remastered, The Way did not have any voice acting. It relied on text, which was already a sloppy way to tell a story in a sub-genre that typically relies on visuals to convey ideas. The thing is, The Way really did not really need any text or voice acting to express what was happening in the story. The designers needed to be a bit more confident in their players' ability to interpret imagery or to let them wonder. Some attempts at innovation only reinforce how some of the limitations of much older games of this style only made them better. The fact that much of any given area is no longer restricted to one screen at a time ultimately becomes a bit of a nuisance since checkpoints can now feel like they are being put in randomised and illogical positions. Early on, checkpoints seem to have some thought put into them, since dying respawns the hero in a general vicinity of death. As the game progresses, the checkpoints become extremely distant and are put only at the start of a large map or after fulfilling some goal. Since the hero dies in a single hit, this is going to guarantee a lot of unfair deaths and it is not helped by the spotty hit detection.

Death, then trial and error, is a big part of the gameplay for games like this, for better and for worse. Having the checkpoints managed in a way that makes the game fair is very important to making these enjoyable and The Way just does not. The one contribution that makes this interesting is the semi-open-ended way users can assess the multi-part goals. This leads to lots of discovery and moments of realisation that is important to adventuring. Having such vast and open levels tends to result in lots of slow and tedious backtracking to areas that are empty and pungent with the aroma of filler... not the good kind of filler used to make twinkies, either. This is a pretty short game and, looking back, there is a fair amount of eye-glazing, sleep-inducing padding.

What is left of The Way when it is looked at on its own merits? It is a very generic adventure game with some really bad and amateurish pixel art and animation. This ends up looking worse than most SNES and NES titles because the artists just did not understand colour and design. The music might be the only quality that is consistent throughout. This will be another forgettable and stereotypical indie game, though, that leans on its influences to get by, as opposed to having anything substantial of its own.

Screenshot for The Way Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

The Way Remastered is another janky indie game with faux-retro pixel art that misses the point of pixel art. It looks and plays like it was made by amateurs or possibly by some cynical designers who ticked all their checkboxes on what generic indie games are. This is not the worst indie game made - far from it - but it is so bland and plain... so middle of the road and inoffensive, that it is devoid of soul. Many gamers will decry big name publishers of mass producing soulless AAA games en masse, but now the scene has got to a point where indie developers can pump out non-descript, generic sci-fi retro homage number 274 and dupe people into their scheme. At the very least, The Way is forgettable.

Developer

SONKA

Publisher

SONKA

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

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   

Comments

Panu (guest) 22.04.2018#1

I would like to know what did you smoke during the gameplay and review? Are you seriously comparing this game to NES graphically?

Jonathan (guest) 24.04.2018#2

I was born and raised in the era of pixel art/adventure games, a little older than this reviewer. Aside from the bugs that will be patched soon, I don't think the reviewer is being fair when it comes to the game's art. Sure, there's a difference between artists making the most of the platform they're on and purposefully creating rough art to simulate the look of that past era and failing at it. But from what I can see, elements in The Way's art direction faithfully harken back to the style of a lot of those games - Sierra and Lucas Arts games, in particular. I'm thinking of Space Quest, Fate of Atlantis, The Dig. I'm thinking of the use of many colors, and the particular palettes they have chosen, finely detailed elements throughout, and even the comic windows that occasionally appear.

EMI (guest) 23.09.2018#3

This is a great game, with awesome pixel art. This review is mean and ill intentioned.

Korska (guest) 26.09.2018#4

"Amateurish pixel art" ? You really don't know a thing about what you're talking.

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