Nefarious (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 21.10.2018

Review for Nefarious on Nintendo Switch

There was potential to the premise of Nefarious. Playing as the villain or big bad from other game genres has fertile ground for some flexible and unique gameplay opportunities. The idea of controlling a boss, against what could be interpreted as the hero from another game, is fresh. This was something that Nefariouson Switch aims to do, but swings and misses so hard it falls down on its face, stumbles down the stairs, and rolls off a cliff into a pile of broken glass and shattered dreams.

Crowe is what you get when a fan-artist tries to draw a purple, shark-toothed version of Beck from Mighty No. 9. Right down to his goggles and body proportions, there is not much inspiration when it came to designing what is supposed to be a villainous scoundrel who kidnaps princesses. Admittedly, Nefarious is a cut above when it comes down to witty dialogue and amusing quotes. It feels like the writers missed their calling and should have been writing for animated TV shows. The "heroes" who try to thwart Crowe at the end of every stage feel less like afterthoughts to everything else. There are lots of cute little Easter Eggs and references to these boss events that play lip service to about 30 years' worth of gaming history.

Nefarious had an interesting idea but it does not commit to it. What if players assumed the role of a videogame bad guy in a comedic self-aware 2D platformer? The concept should practically write itself, but the developers sadly lacked the vision to fully take advantage of the possibilities. The biggest issue with Nefarious is not that it is a extremely mediocre 2D platformer, it's that it is a very unpolished and rough 2D platformer. Strip away any hint that the protagonist is supposed to be an embodiment of videogame bosses, and there is nothing left of interest. The boss battles are the one standout aspect to this debacle of a platformer. Since each boss battle relies on some kind of gimmick, no two will be the same, and it is where the idea of playing as a bad guy comes to fruition. Sure, there is the actual act of kidnapping the princesses who tweak Crowe's controls to a degree, but it is nothing substantial.

Screenshot for Nefarious on Nintendo Switch

The level design is a chaotic, haphazard mess of repeating assets and frustrating physics that make Nefarious unenjoyable to control. Crowe moves at a sluggish pace and always feels like he is on ice, and compounded with an inconsistent hit-box for everything, the entire experience feels very low quality and unfair. Jumpy is slow and floaty, while enemies move fast and are small. Most of the time, the game can be easily exploited thanks to overly generous i-frames and temporary invincibility, making it very easy to run past most enemies. That is until Nefarious does one of the most arbitrary game design mistakes of forcing Crowe into a room that requires him to kill 'x' amount of enemies in order to proceed. This kind of padding gets worse as the game goes on and it becomes more transparent.

Nefarious does at least have some decent web-comic-esque art direction. Characters have nice, big and black bold outlines, making them easy on the eyes. There is even some competent animation and background art on display. There was quite a bit of artistic talent involved in the production of this. It is just too bad it is all wasted on what feels like an unfinished product.

Screenshot for Nefarious on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Other than the amusing boss battles, Nefarious is barely competent. Controlling bosses from various genres is a novel spin on the concept of the boss battle and if this was just a series of battles, like Cuphead, there could have been something worth playing here. Everything else, which is about 90% of the game, is just soul-crushing. It is the kind of title that feels like work, and continuing is just exhausting because of how poor the playbility is.

Developer

StarBlade

Publisher

Digerati Distribution

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

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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