EarthNight (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Thom Compton 24.03.2020

Review for EarthNight on Nintendo Switch

Auto-runner; Infinite Runner; One Button runner; Cash grab. Whatever moniker you have assigned to the genre, it's definitely an interesting one. Sure, things like Temple Run do come off a bit cash grabby, but others, like Runner2 more than make up for those. EarthNight is a title that finds its own particular flavour of the auto-running world, and unfortunately, while not a cash grab, it's also nothing particularly amazing.

EarthNight is an auto-runner that stars Sydney and Stanley, two survivors of some sort of apocalypse. See, there are dragons floating around the various layers above Earth, and these two need to slay them. As they do, they will acquire teeth, metal bits, eggs, and all sorts of other items to aid them on their pursuit to overthrow the dragons. Confused yet? Good. The plot is hardly the main draw here, but it's just weird and original enough that it gets points for creativity. The primary focus is the gameplay, as is to be expected in an auto-runner.

You will fall through the various layers of the atmosphere, landing on various dragons. The objective is to survive the run from their tail to their heads by dodging or jumping on top of enemies along the way. Once you reach the head of the dragon, you will have to follow a specific pattern when tapping the B button to slay it, only being given a certain amount of time to do so before the dragon refills its life bar, and you continue your descent to Earth. However, if one manages to make sense of the dragon's pattern, then teeth will be collected upon its death, and provided you the player hasn't already beaten this dragon on previous runs, new power-ups can be unlocked to assist in further runs.

This would all be very fun if the entire experience didn't get so obnoxiously repetitive so quickly. You will always start on the same dragon, which generally has the exact same enemies, marching towards the player in the same slightly odd rhythm. Fortunately, once off that dragon, if your precision is tight enough, you can skip the remaining dragons in a specific layer of the atmosphere by dodging around them as you fall. Where normally you'd need to beat a certain amount of dragons to proceed to the next layer, some of the layers allow you to maneuver around the dragons while falling, meaning you can skip the number of dead dragons needed and move on early.

Screenshot for EarthNight on Nintendo Switch

This doesn't stop the repetition from setting in hard, though, which is odd considering the game does a pretty good job of mixing things up. Each layer's dragons (or in some case, just a dragon) has new enemy mechanics to teach. The problem is that the difficulty is largely luck based, so one can expect to get pummelled to death by inconsistent enemy groups that don't allow for the less than enjoyable control scheme to accurately anticipate what it's going to throw at them next.

That control scheme is, by the way, the greatest strength and weakness of EarthNight. Sydney and Stanley do not control the same, with Sydney controlling like a great platformer character, and Stanley being a dud. Sydney has a good move set, and once she jumps, she can then perform one additional move in air (unless she is using a power-up that allows her an additional move). That provides some degree of control in the madhouse that is the random enemy dump you'll find on any given dragons back. Stanley, on the other hand, can jump a little, or jump a little higher than that. For him to do anything that Sydney can do by default, he needs power-ups, and that makes him a largely useless character, unless you want the whole thing to be harder.

Fortunately, this does have some good ideas, but they are often squandered. Some later levels have a constant enemy attacking you that need to be dodged, along with the levels other standard enemies. This ends up being more annoying than fun though, as these stages already have the feeling that they were trying to get as much on the screen as possible for you to dodge. Unlike a bullet hell, however, this is often down entirely to luck, and skill will rarely save you from losing absurd amounts of health.

Screenshot for EarthNight on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

EarthNight is really a product of its genre. It's rare that auto-runners feel truly unique, and while this does a decent job of introducing new mechanics regularly, it does such a poor job with enemy placement that you will have to run through the same kind of courses over and over before you get to see them - unless you skip on through the fray, and that only works so long. Even when you find these new ideas, they are often just one tweak shy of something a lot better than they ended up being, and it's a shame such an original idea feels so flat.

Developer

Cleaversoft

Publisher

Cleaversoft

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

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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