Thunder Paw (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Michael McCann 04.05.2020

Review for Thunder Paw on Nintendo Switch

As the old proverb goes, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." That may perhaps be so, but the question remains, can a new dog be taught good game design? In the case of Thunder Paw, it presents itself as a retro throwback character platformer, much in the ilk of something like Shovel Knight or Cave Story, or even something developed by Inti Creates. A top-of-class comparison, admittedly, however Thunder Paw ultimately falls short of capturing the tight mechanics or charm needed to make a modern 2D character platformer work.

Confounding it is how the Thunder Paw world appears to be army themed. Loosely army themed, insomuch as the main anthropomorphised character appears to be wearing a camouflage uniform, and enemies throw grenades and wear Vietnam-esque bandannas, tank tops, and eye patches. The story preamble, and motivation for playing, eludes nothing to this.

Instead this focuses on the story of an inexplicably shirtless dog, playing with a ball outside, until an atomic bomb-like explosion goes off, only destroying the windows of the protagonist's house, and prompts the dog to return and find out that its parents have been kidnapped. It just doesn't make any sense…

Screenshot for Thunder Paw on Nintendo Switch

What also doesn't make sense is the difficulty balance. Levels essentially play out as platform puzzles, whereby the goal is to eliminate every enemy on the map before proceeding to the next stage. This formula essentially doesn't change throughout its short length but sadly for this reviewer is a fundamentally flawed premise. It's not so bad on early stages, where layouts are relatively simple, but later levels get more labyrinthine, and it becomes irritating to reach the end of the stage, only to have to backtrack, scour, and blindly jump off ledges to find the remaining three enemies impeding progress.

Some foes take two hits to kill, and others, which look identical, will take several hits with the exact same weapon to see off. When you marry their quick, rigid attack patterns, with player handicap, Thunder Paw becomes little more than an exercise in patience. There are three mechanics: run, jump and shoot. There is a painfully short range on the default weapon, and firing it initiates a knock-back animation, which can prove challenging as enemies are frequently placed near ledges or on small platforms. These manoeuvrability and balance issues are only exacerbated by the inclusion of insanely difficult boss stages.

Screenshot for Thunder Paw on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

The saving grace for Thunder Paw is that generally sprites are cute, and music hits the mark for driving progress forward without being too repetitive. Whether or not that's enough to entice is up to the individual to decide. There's conceivably a compulsion to play on and best the unfair challenge, particularly with an early monkey boss level, which required keeping up with an increasing pattern speed in spite of a gimped weapon range. One hopes it might be a worthy first attempt, and it is if that's the case, but otherwise it is just a bit "rough." An oddity indeed.

Developer

Sergio Poverony

Publisher

Ratalaika Games

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    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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