There’s an incredible variety of indie games available on the Switch – and the fact that they can be played either on the TV or in portable mode means that there’s room for all kinds of titles, big or small.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Masky when I first played it; truth be told, I’m not even sure what to make of it now that I’ve made my way through all of the stages and reached Max level. It’s difficult to even explain what Masky is; it’s a real oddity that sort of defies easy categorisation.
You control a masked character – as to who these characters you control on each stage are isn’t ever clear or particularly important – who’s a bit, well…unstable. Move too quickly either left or right on the fixed 2D plane that you’re on and you tip over, losing your mask and ending your run. Other figures appear on either side of you – successfully bump into one without falling and they get a mask too, but they also stick to you, which makes staying upright much harder.
Some even have red arrows above them, to show that when – or if – you ‘collect’ them, their mask will have an effect that’s likely to make your life more difficult until you touch another figure. These special masks can do insidious things like turn the stage upside down, make it sloped or even cause your balance meter to disappear. Sometimes, the effect isn’t so bad, such as having the lights turned on, giving you a rare moment of brightness in the usually dark stages.
Visually, Masky has a very distinctive and appealing look; it feels as if everything is in silhuouette, with coloured outlines distinguishing objects, figures and scenery – though masks themselves are very vibrant and colourful, making them really stand out. It’s very clear and there’s never any confusion about what’s going on from a gameplay perspective. Though you’re dropped in at the deep end with no tutorial, it’s not difficult to work out what’s going on and you’ll soon be collecting companions and masks in higher and higher numbers through the selection of stages that are on offer. Doors that appear in the stages give you a glimpse of new worlds that you haven’t unlocked yet and – despite the overall look and feel being very similar – there’s a nice variety in colours to go with the black backgrounds and the general world themes are nicely varied too.
The music initially threatens to become somewhat repetitive, but with a new tune per stage, as long as you aren’t stuck on one for too long this isn’t an issue.
Though it won’t take long to build up enough experience to power your way to Max level – and despite the singular focus on simply moving left and right to stay standing up – it’s a strangely addictive, oddly compelling little game (and there’s even local multiplayer too!). Masky feels completely different to just about everything I’ve played before – and how many games can you say that about these days?
Disclaimer: Forever Entertainment kindly provided me with a Masky code for review purposes.
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