Super Cable Boy
Publisher: Sebastian Lieb
Genre(s): Platformer, Multiplayer
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 24/06/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Super Cable Boy is a precision platformer like Super Meat Boy. Instead of a slab of meat, play as a sentient video game machine on his quest to save the world from a dangerous glitch. Learn to propel yourself from a grappling hook extension cord, shoot forward with extra voltage, and even change the colour of the world around you. Is this game really all that super? Find out in this Rapid Review.
As with many precision platformers, the story is not the primary focus of Super Cable Boy. There are a few intriguing dialogue boxes here and there, but for the most part, there is little story content. Even still, the story about a random antique being chosen due to its compatibility with the sacred chips is a delightful premise. Although there are no overarching themes or morals, the developers created a continuous map. There are levels dedicated to segueing to the next world. These levels are not very challenging but serve as gateways to make the game world seem real. The story elements are not worthwhile enough to justify the purchase of the game. However, their inclusion is pleasant.
When there is minimal story content in a title, the gameplay must be entertaining. Thankfully, that is the case with Super Cable Boy. Initially, the game is incredibly simple. The player can walk around and jump. They cannot run and there are no advanced techniques. Restricting the player’s capabilities forces them to get familiar with the physics in the title. However, I quickly yearned for deeper, more complex gameplay. The developers granted exactly what I wanted when I received my first cartridge. It allowed my cord to be used as a grappling hook. Just like that, the game needed to be learned all over again. Jumps that were once impossible could now be reached. The game slowly builds this handheld gaming system into a powerful force.
Once I obtained my first cartridge, I was ready for more. The developers included additional cartridges that each felt unique. One allows the player to jump three times and one allows them to change the colour of the world around them. Sure, each cartridge is interesting to play individually, but the game truly shines when it forces the rapid swapping of cartridges in a single level. It requires mastery of each one. The player can swap between their different cartridges whenever they choose. It even works while airborne. This further heightened the gameplay experience and required the player to use quick thinking. The cartridges were an excellent way to separate this title from similar ones.
What’s a VHS?
Another reason these cartridges broaden gameplay is because they force the player to evaluate the level. Generally, in precision platformers, players only need to determine what to do, not how to do it. Super Cable Boy stands out because, with the various cartridges, there are multiple ways to tackle each level. I am sure some of them are unintended solutions, but it was one of the things I enjoyed most about the game. The player can decide which powers are best suited for the given level and then try the level with their own technique. There are even times the developer forces the player to reevaluate how they viewed the level. Certain collectables can only be obtained with certain cartridges equipped. This means the developers can entice the player to push themselves even further and experience the level in the way the developer intended.
Before becoming powerful, the player must learn how to fully utilize the mechanics they are given. The developers thought ahead and included well-thought-out tutorials. When each cartridge is introduced to the player, they are trapped in a room that cannot be cleared without figuring out the new mechanic. Moreover, there is a silhouette of another character completing the action near areas where the player may be confused, further ensuring they know exactly what they must do. The game is excellent at telegraphing what the player must do. Players are guided through levels with vines, telephone wires and even flames. Even navigating the map is made simple, as the next level radiates energy, showing the player where their suggested path leads. The developers made sure to consider the player, even new players, when designing Super Cable Boy.
What’s he doing with all that rice?
Furthermore, the developers included additional mechanisms to tailor the gameplay experience. The game features collectable rice balls that do not offer anything important but serve as an additional challenge for those who are ready for it. These collectables provide some of the best experiences in the game. They are challenging but always possible. They truly tested my skills and encouraged me to get better. Additionally, the developers include accessibility features such as additional lives for players who are struggling with the game. The developers made a title suited for players of all skill levels, and it is one of the reasons Super Cable Boy stands out from the many platformers on the Nintendo Switch.
Dying is rarely fun in video games. While Super Cable Boy is no exception, fast loading times combined with infinite retries helps prevent players from getting too frustrated. This gameplay design kept me motivated even after spending an excessive amount of time on one collectable. Though the in-game loading time is short, once the game is closed, it takes a long time to load. This does not really matter, as that is before the game begins, but I thought I should mention it. Unfortunately, while many of the levels performed perfectly, there were a few instances of slowdown (usually when many tiles would appear on the screen at once). Again, this sparingly occurs, and it will not gravely impact the score, but it is worth mentioning.
The developers included wonderful pixel art music to supplement the precise and enjoyable gameplay. This music was welcoming and atmospheric, unlike many other precision platformers. I found this cheerful music to be a delightful change of pace. Similarly, the visuals are delightful. The (intentional) glitches featured in the game look just as potent as they should, and the character always stands out from the background. The game even changes colour based upon which cartridge was selected, reassuring the player of their abilities. Occasionally, opening the cartridge select menu while travelling upwards hastily would cause the camera to look strange for a brief period, slightly breaking immersion, but just as soon as it happened, it would be remedied. Even still, the visuals and atmosphere in Super Cable Boy are lovely.
All in all, Super Cable Boy is a delightful adventure suited to players of all skill levels. If the auto-running style of Super Meat Boy Forever did not satisfy your precision platformer urges, I strongly recommend this title. I really enjoyed my time with Super Cable Boy.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
You can purchase Super Cable Boy from the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.