WRITHE is developed by Mission Ctrl Studios, an indie developer run by the husband-and-wife UK-based duo Jodi and Thomas Illari (how cool is that?!). WRITHE is a first-person shooter (FPS) set in a futuristic environment, where the emphasis is surviving in combat arenas for as long as possible. So far this is a Switch exclusive, and let’s see how it plays!
The title is pretty gruesome, huh? Well, this game is all about obliterating wave after wave of giant worms, so if insects make your skin crawl, then buyer beware. You control a protagonist, who very much looks like Doomguy, and you run around trying to evade the worm onslaught for as long as possible. You’re armed with two weapons, both of which are permanently equipped with one in each hand. The right hand gun is the standard rifle and the left is more of a cannon that fires three shots at once, but at a much slower rate than the rifle.
There are a selection of small combat environments to choose from and you are thrown straight in, with a timer counting up from zero. The worm creatures slowly start to spawn and attack you – I tried my age-old tactic in these kinds of games of running around in circles around the perimeter while an orderly queue of enemies starts chasing you because hey, as long as they’re behind you you’re safe right? Wrong. The AI in this game is ingenious and the worms (despite being invertebrates) are clever, or at least cleverer than I was. They cut you off and jump at you from all sorts of angles which means running around in circles and blindly firing will not serve you very well. You have to engage in combat and take these mothers down. Cocoons holding power-ups and extra health pickups sporadically appear however they are few and far between which makes this game tricky!
The aim of the game is two-fold; one – you have to survive in said arenas for as long as possible and the longer you survive, the higher up the community leader board you go for bragging rights. Two – you collect gems as you kill the worms, and the more gems you collect, the more in-game content you can unlock.
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One obvious negative for me is that there is no way that I can see to turn off the rumble feature. This game rumbles a lot, which is fine, but when you’re playing it late at night and others in the house are trying to get to sleep, it can get irritating pretty quickly.
Story / Personality
The story is, unfortunately, thread-bare but you can tell this game was developed with pick-up-and-play mechanics in mind. They don’t want to bore you with details - they just want you to destroy worms! Lucky for them, destroying worms is pretty fun so I’ll let them off.
You do unlock pages of lore which become available when you hit certain gem collection targets – so admittedly there is a backstory to this game, but calling it ‘lore’ makes it sound a bit grander than it actually is. The game is full of quirkiness and humour though, which I really enjoyed. The developers clearly have a sense of humour and a sense of fun!
Graphics / Sound Design
The graphics are nice and cartoony, and the game runs smoothly. It kind of looks like Doom meets Worms Armageddon meets Starship Troopers, which is fine by me as I’m a huge fan of all three (MEDIIIIIIC)! Oh, and the music is incredible! Really funky and catchy tunes – I would happily have a house party and just play the background music of this game. Sure it would get repetitive but it’s my house and my rules. But in all seriousness, the music was the highlight for me. It had that perfect balance of funkiness and intimidation that you want in an FPS.
Final Score: 70%
I’ve just finished playing DOOM Eternal so I was excited to play this game because from the outside-looking-in, it looks very much like an homage, which it is, except without all of the content that a modern DOOM game has. So I would describe it as more of a ‘tribute’ than an ‘homage’ because this game really is very simple. It’s quirky and well-crafted, but the brevity of it means it’s really just a weekend-filler at most. If more content were to be released, then you would certainly come back for more as the gameplay is very addictive.
Jodi and Thomas clearly enjoy making fun games and Mission Ctrl is certainly a studio to keep an eye on - good job guys!
Thank you for check out our WRITHE Switch review, thank you to Mission Ctrl Studios for the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backersfor their ongoing support:
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