07/11/2021

๐Ÿ”ถ Super Hiking League DX | Nintendo Switch | Review | 7.5/10 | "An 8bit Styled Vertical Climbing Platformer" ๐Ÿ”ถ @bitinkstudios @qubytegames #IndieGame #IndieGames #GameDev

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Super Hiking League DX is an 8bit styled verticle climbing platformer, with a jump swinging mechanic that sets it apart from the pack. You can race to the top - against a friend with local play, or you can take on the AI in Story mode and see who reaches the summit’s diamond first.

Initially, upon booting up Super Hiking League, you’re greeted with a banger of a chiptune during the title screen. As a matter of fact, I can safely say that all of the music throughout the entire game absolutely slaps. 

You are then greeted by the game modes that include the Story Mode(vs. AI only), or a couple of game modes that can be played with two players. 

Versus Mode – 1v1 race to the top where you can strategically attack your opponent
Race Mode1v1 timed race with no hitting allowed – play nice!

My wife and I tried the 2 player mode first, and it got quite intense. We selected Versus Mode and we quickly learned you can attack your opponent to gain an advantage while racing. You can either use your sword as a melee weapon to slow down your opponent, or your rope for an extended attack. This is probably the favourite of all of the modes we tried while playing - mostly because the victor is not necessarily decided by who is the best at platforming games. Which admittedly is a favourite genre of mine, but I would quickly be served ice cold humble pie with a well-timed attack, while swinging from a flower node, on the edge of a tall platform, or climbing a ladder. Versus Mode, while vastly different reminds one of Towerfall, but with an added objective of the summit’s diamond.   

Only a few stages are available when you first start playing, but more stages can be unlocked in the Story Mode. While there is a story going on in SHL, the star of the show is the race against your competition. 

The AI and level designs start out somewhat slow and ease you in, but the AI is always a jerk. They will swing at you relentlessly while you’re in a sword length’s reach, getting more vicious as you progress to later levels. 

The worst part of SHL has to be the sometimes unfair rubberbanding AI, mostly present in the 2nd half of the 26 levels of Story Mode. Every once in a while you’ll hit a wall of a stage, one that will take dozens(and dozens) of attempts to beat. When you play better, the AI will play better. And by better AI, I mean rigged. Like, Mortal Kombat II’s AI rigged. You’ll have to almost find an exploit to beat some of these stages, and it becomes frustrating. 

My wife tapped out at around stage 15, essentially rage quitting the games Story Mode completely. But I trekked on, being the masochist I am. I’ve completed games like Super Meat Boy, Celeste, and while rage-inducing – those games get your blood boiling from the brutal(but fair) level design.

The last couple of stages were probably the best-designed stages, mixing in all of the mechanics introduced throughout the game. They’d have you take an elevator up, and dump you out – then you’d use your rope to grab a flower node, and launch yourself up onto another platform etc. I feel if the team took their time and designed the levels again, added more levels, or even a second game – that the levels would be far better/more clever. 

At a bargain, the game is usually available for under $5. The story took me around 6 or 7 hours, which upon completing unlocks “Master Mode”, though I’m reluctant to try. But I am excited to play all of the now unlocked stages against a local opponent.

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