Developer: North Lab, Sometimes You
Publisher: Sometimes You
Genre(s): Puzzle, Music, Lifestyle, Other
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 01/09/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Alveole Alveole Give me the Formuoli
Alveole is described as an experimental project that elevates one mechanic to the fullest. After reading the summary, I still had no idea what the game would entail, but watching the trailer, it looked like a puzzle game. After exploring the mechanics, I found that the title focuses on the mundanity of being inside a hamster wheel while showing prior moments in the character’s life. Did it make for a good project? Find out in this Rapid Review.
To begin my experience, I was dropped into a room with a hamster ball and a variety of objects. There were also a bunch of blank spaces on the screen where photographs could go. Without much other further guidance, I began experimenting with the world around me, trying to make some understanding of how this was supposed to be fun.
The only object that I could interact with was the hamster ball. Once I started interacting with it, my character would start running. Eventually, black triangles would appear on the ball as well. I could either jump over them or stumble into them. When I first started out, I had no idea what these did, or why I was running on the treadmill. However, I did know that sometimes, after I ran on the treadmill, I was awarded a photograph. Unfortunately, at that point, I had no idea how I earned them.
The Puzzling Experience
Eventually, I realized that the objects in the background were clues to help me unlock many of the various pictures. Though it was not instantly evident that the objects in the background correlated to the treadmill, once I recognized that they were relevant, it was instantly obvious how to complete the game. The puzzles are simple, especially since the game only has one mechanic. It was mildly rewarding to solve these puzzles, but I found that often, the puzzles were not complex, and many of them were too similar to warrant being different objectives.
Even though the puzzles themselves were not complicated, the simple nature of the game was charming. I liked the black and white visual style, and I thought the curvy lines accentuated the simplicity of the game. The music helped flesh out the design too. The soundtrack seemed to be inspired by classical music but there was an off-putting vibe as well. I liked the way the music made the world more dynamic, as though there was some ulterior meaning behind my exploration of the hamster wheel.
Still, even though the simple structure makes the game charming, there is very little to do. Once I realized how to complete the game, I was able to complete the game in one sitting. Unfortunately, one of the objectives was meaningless. It simply required that I exit the game and reopen it again. Having completed every other challenge in around thirty minutes, I wasted a bit of my time trying to solve a puzzle for which I had no clues. Even though some of the content was rewarding to understand, Alveole runs into the same problem Apple Slash does. There is not enough meaningful content. The run time is short, and even then, the puzzling began to get repetitive.
The Switch Tax
Moreover, the Nintendo Switch version of Alveole is completely overshadowed by the mobile version. It is being sold at a fifth of the price and I could not find any benefits to playing with a controller. At that price point, Alveole is certainly more intriguing, and it would likely stand out against other mobile games too. It has a clear design and a simple charm. At the Nintendo eShop price point, it does not provide enough value, especially when it can be bought for cheaper on mobile devices.
Overall, Alveole is a charming experience, but it is incredibly short, and the puzzles featured are not especially challenging. I rarely felt challenged and even though the atmosphere was calming, it was not mesmerizing enough to make it worth my time. Finally, when factoring in the more inexpensive mobile version of the game, the Nintendo Switch version looks incredibly impractical.
Rapid Reviews Rating
2.5 out of 5
You can purchase Alveole on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.