Many games like to mix genres to try and offer a unique gaming experience. Because of this you end up with puzzle-platformers, musical-RPGs, rhythm-fighting games, and so many more. Sometimes You has recently ventured into multi-genre game design with Where Are My Friends. This puzzle, platformer, running game with Metroidvania aspects really tries to pack a lot into a small title.
Wheye is an eyeball on a wheel that is on a scientific mission to study the local species with a few of his friends. Unfortunately, the planet is about to explode and he has been separated from his friends. It is now up to you to save them before the planet is reduced to rubble.
The game takes on many different forms. You will start out solving puzzles then move into some platforming. The interesting part is that the platforming varies by level. Some levels feature side scrolling action while others are top down. The running aspect is added in as well, so you are forced to complete levels at a set speed. This can make jumps onto moving platforms a challenge as they are not always in the position you need them.
Graphics in the game are as varied as the genres. Levels range from hand drawn to sharp computer generated flat designs. The different graphic styles add a nice variety to the title. The sound track is fun to listen to and changes with each area. This helps to keep you from bored with the music, unless you get stuck on a level. The music plays a vital role because there isn’t a single word spoken throughout the game.
The issue with incorporating so many genres and art styles into one game is that instead of focusing on one item is that you have even more chances to do things poorly. This becomes apparent in the execution of some of the side scrolling, runner, platforming levels. There are stationary enemies that shoot projectiles at you. If you miss jumping over the projectile and it kills you, when you restart from the last checkpoint that projectile is frozen in the spot where you died. This means that not only do you have to dodge the projectiles coming at you, but you also have jump over the one that previously killed you. This increases the difficulty to a frustrating level. If there are multiple shooting enemies and you pass one but die on the 2nd or 3rd one before the next checkpoint, the projectiles from the ones you actually passed will freeze in the spot they were at when you died.
Where Are My Friends is now available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Steam and XB1. I played it on the Switch and the controls are very frustrating no matter if you are using the Joy Cons or a Pro Controller. The game has a lot of promise, but fails in execution. At a cost of around $6, it is a reasonably priced title if you want to try it out and challenge yourself.