Switch (Panic! in the US) is quite possibly the oddest game I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of decidedly odd games. In the future, all the appliances in the world are hooked up, precariously, to one central computer. One happy day, a virus infects the computer, and in turn, manifests itself in every appliance – major, minor or otherwise – on the planet. This will lead to nothing good. |
The gameplay boils down to simply pushing buttons. Hundreds of buttons. Over and over and over again. The game features sixteen 'tiers', each with one to several rooms within, eventually leading down to The Virus. You need to find the right pattern of button pushes to get there as fast as possible, though no actual time limit is in place.
The problem is, for whatever reason (idiocy is likely), none of the buttons are labeled significantly. Many look normal (elevator buttons, for instance), while others are completely off-kilter (bombs on a blender? Snowmen and suns on a doorbell?), and even after pushing many of them, there's often no way to remember EVERYTHING (without taking copious notes, which would be possible, but crazy). So where does the fun in pushing all these buttons come from?
The machines didn't simply break down or malfunction, they went CRAZY. Completely, mind-bogglingly, off-the-shallow-end-and-hit-their-head-on-the-bottom nuts. Before you're done, you'll be puked on by Moai Heads, farted on by a giant ass, smashed by a foot, absorbed by monoliths, houses will dance around you, you will be blended, have crop circles drawn around you, be converted into a Rorschach Diagram, have breasts grow out of your head, and oh, you'll be eaten by a urinal and flush the entire universe down a toilet.
That's just 40% of the game, and 10% of the 'gags'. The charm comes in seeing what freaky thing the developers came up with THIS time – every single button that does not teleport you to another room does something unique, often with a very Python-esque feel.
You can't push EVERY button, though. See, The Virus realized you might try that. Hooked up to thirty buildings and thirty buttons are thirty bombs. Pushing those buttons will detonate the building in question, and there's no way for you to tell in advance whether you're going to blow up the Diet Building in Japan or Mr. Smith's Farm in Kansas. If all thirty buildings fall, you lose.
What you have in Switch is one, long, running gag that winds up being visually engaging, even if the gameplay is sorely lacking. If you don't mind what amounts to a virtual acid trip, you'll enjoy at least a few playthroughs of Switch. If only every Sega CD game had been this good!
Reviewed by: Magnificent Linnard