The classic sci-fi trope of miniaturization and bodily-invasion, where you go into a human being to fight off some nasty diseases, is a brilliant one that refuses to die, whether its Rick & Morty taking it on with a carnival spin or Doctor Who giving it a timey wimey whirl. Vitamin Connection takes that cliche and transforms it into an unbelievably fun handheld co-op experience.
You can grab a controller of your own and pass one to a friend, or hold the entire damned console in your own two hands and say to hell with it and embark on the curative journey of the 50s-ESC cartoon characters all by your lonesome. No matter what, the quest is upbeat, energetic and wholly enjoyable.
The main experience of Vitamin Connection is slowly meandering through the human body as you fight back against hostile forces with your vitamin beam, avoiding obstacles, choosing paths and meeting strange beings along the way. It’s charming, cute and a little bit tedious at times. The ride often feels like the slow-moving boat in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, albeit without the eerie tension.
This is, mostly, because the game is designed around a constantly moving set-piece, rather than you, the player, pushing forward of your own volition. Think back to those old Mario levels that push you forward, refusing to let you go back. However, whilst this aspect drags down the overall enjoyment value, killing things is satisfying in all the right ways and the controls are silky smooth, so it can be forgiven.
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However, besides the core gameplay, there are a plethora of engaging minigames that do a helluva lot more than the platform-ESC shoot-em-up campaign, such as the instantly accessible mode that has you take part in Operation style fun in which you avoid touching the curling bar for as long as possible as you move from left to right.
Impressively, though, the game has HD Rumble, which only enhances the experience, as it makes the traversal more immersive and the shoot-em-up fun more rewarding. It’s well-timed and not too over-the-top.
There’s not a whole lot to say about the story as the focus is quite clear on the gameplay. None of the characters are much more than exposition and villains tend to be childish and over-the-top, but that works in crafting the charming atmosphere and the retro feel, embracing the corny sci-fi of old to make for a fun time.
Graphics / Art Direction
The opening cutscene of Vitamin Connection is absolutely phenomenal, with stellar animation, an old Fairly Odd Parents vibe and an infectiously charming 50s sit-com aesthetic. It’s perfect, in every single way, and the voice acting and music only enhances every aspect.
When you delve into the game at large, its crisp with vibrant colors and great particle effects, with cutesy character designs and interesting backdrops. Despite having a setting similar to the Womb in Binding of Isaac, it doesn’t feel like a horror game as there are no overtly disgusting visuals, which helps with the initial introduction of a friendly game that’s more comedic and adorable than terrifying and eye-gauging.
Music / Sound Design
The soundtrack is upbeat and memorable, lending its hand to making the gameplay punchy and weightful, atop the action-packed foundation that excels at making the combat riveting. The sound design, toppled with the stellar music, only exaggerates this tenfold, with kills rich with weight and impact, whilst traversal sounds as smooth as it feels.
Final Score: 85%
There are some issues that bog down the near-perfect, awe-inspiring experience, but the final product is a phenomenal and chaotic breath of fresh air that takes a silly sci-fi idea and makes it into a charming experience that would make Bin Weevils proud.
Thank you for checking out our Vitamin Connection Switch review, thank you WayForward for the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out!)
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