Do you have the reflexes of a ninja? Are you partial to dropping acid to enjoy some cool colours? Then this may well be the game for you! Switch Galaxy Ultra was given out free as part of Playstation Plus. Whilst it’s not entirely free (you have to pay a subscription for PS Plus), it didn’t cost me any more money than I had already been spending. But it did cost me time, and that’s something I don’t have much of at all. I often see comments on the internet along the lines of “You can’t complain too much, it was free!”. A punch in the mouth is also free and I reckon you’d complain about that.
In case you couldn’t tell, this is going to be less than complimentary.
Sometimes the game can look alright, but it’s really more down to the background details than anything you’re involved in.
There’s a story apparently, but the comic book presentation didn’t even try to engage me with its uninteresting characters and cheap jokes about diarrhea, so we’ll skip straight past that. The basic idea of the game is you’re flying from system to system along preset tracks. You switch left and right between tracks to avoid coloured gates and other ships. That’s it. The whole game is moving left and right along set paths. No room for finesse or clever maneuvers. The game does get insanely fast after a while though, requiring perfect memorisation or absurdly fast reflexes as the game throws gates and ships in your path over blind hilltops. The challenge feels extremely cheap.
The spaceships are pretty impressive to look at, but their design is all the variety you get.
Occasionally you’ll fly along a tunnel of crazy colours collecting some mineral that progresses the game (which I’m going to refer to as Arbitrarium). This is where an utterly bizarre design decision comes in. You play from behind your ship which is fine during the racing segments, but in these tunnels you have to collects items. The rear of your ship blocks most of the screen making it near impossible to see what you’re doing. Annoying to say the least. To compound this, you need to collect this Arbitrarium to advance the game. You can’t fail any of the stages, just perform badly; so to add “challenge” to the game you can only advance if you’ve collected enough of this resource during the previous stages. This leads to you having to replay stages to earn enough to advance further. There’s no reason for this other than to lengthen the game time. And, most egregious of all, I reached a point in the game where it stopped saving my progress. Every time I went back to finish the game, I found my progress set back to a few days ago. Unacceptable!
Sweet acid trip, man.
BUT. There is one positive. My daughter saw me playing this and was quite mesmerised (possibly due to all the bright colours) and asked if she could play. She’s not even 3 yet so I was a little reluctant, but I put her on the first stage and let her poke at the buttons. She enjoyed it and wanted to try again. She’s not always been the most confident with ‘left’ and ‘right’, but after 5 minutes with this she was responding to directions correctly and quickly. Much as I disliked this game, it has had at least one positive effect: my daughter is better a knowing left and right. Also, it should be noted that they have released a DLC pack for the game and all profits from it go to charity, which is a nice gesture.
One of the enemy spaceships isn’t even on the track. I’m not sure if that’s deliberate or a bug.
Switch Galaxy Ultra was developed by Atomicom Limited, and published by Green Man Loaded. I played the game on PS4 and wouldn’t recommend it, even for free. Unless you don’t know your left and right, it might be a good trainer for you.