Defoliation Review (Switch)
Time to defoliate this from the tree?
Defoliation is an adventure puzzle game developed by Rising Win Tech and published by Cosen. Having met through unfortunate events, an old woman and her younger counterparts must band together and solve mysterious puzzles in order to survive. Do you have what it takes to help them live?
One day as the old woman and the youngsters are hanging out at the old woman's house just minding their own business, they're hit with a sudden and strange case of paramnesia and fall into a deep sleep. Upon awaking from their deep sleep, everyone notices something isn't right and everything is different than it was before. What happened to them? who or what did this? how do they escape from this ''new'' house that they seem trapped in? or is it even possible to escape at all?
The game Defoliation relies on its puzzle solving and story telling through its characters in order to get you interested in the game. Very early on in the game you're presented with the scenario that I mentioned above, you're youngsters who have befriended an old woman, and then you all become friends. But suddenly one day without warning you're all rendered helpless and fall into a deep sleep due to random bout with paramnesia. Upon waking up you realize your situation has gotten much worse and you're now left scared and helpless in a scenario that is life or death. This is what is setup for you early on. But does it work? Yes and no.
When it works well then you're genuinely intrigued by some of the puzzles and mysteries that you uncover. While they themselves(puzzles) aren't all that complicated and generally can be figured out pretty quickly(sorta), some of them can actually be a bit enjoyable. But when the game doesn't work, then everything sorta becomes a little bit of a mess. Sometimes you'll spend a bit of time, maybe 10 min or so, on a puzzle you need to do, but for some reason you can't figure out what to do. The reason why you can't figure out what to do is because there's absolutely no way to see how to do so via a visual indicator. This same thing applies to looking around for clues.
Generally in a genre like this you're required to search around every area and every little spot that you possibly can in order to find what you're looking for and to either complete a puzzle or just find useful items that will come in handy later on in the game. While yes that is the purpose this game at its core, however , the game makes it more difficult than it needs to be because it rarely offers you insight on what is clickable and searchable and what items are not. A lot of time you're stuck looking aimlessly for anything to click on and trying to find at least something to pick up that would be useful to you. It can be a bit of a pain and something that really should've been addressed by the dev team before release.
Another problem you're going to find yourself running into in this game is the translation of the text. While I have to say majority of the game its not that bad and is easily readable and understandable, well, that is not always the case through the entire game as a whole and it can directly hurt the games pacing and it's game play as a whole. There are certain times during the games dialogue where you are provided with very important information that is crucial to furthering of the plot line or in relation to something extremely important for a puzzle..but it's all muddled and fumbled by poorly translated text. The badly translated text can make the game feel more puzzling than the actual in game puzzles themselves and that's no good. But to reiterate again, this isn't an issue for the entire game, but it is a problem during some major plot points, so beware and be warned of this.
Lastly I want to say that when the puzzles and everything else is going smoothly,there is a decent game to be found here. Certain puzzles you're left with a limited amount of time to complete in order to make your grand escape. It almost feels like watered down version of the Saw movies at times, only with a lot less gore. The reason why I make this comparison is because the scenarios I just spoke of involve you trying to escape from a life and death situation and should you fail, well, you're dead!
The graphics in this game are bare basic. What I mean when I say this is if you've ever played point and click adventure games on mobile or even a flash game, then you know all pictures are just plain pictures with very minimal animation, and have a text overlay. The game's picture's aren't necessarily bad themselves or anything,they look just fine, but I somehow felt there should've been a little bit more to them is all.
After playing this game for a bit I came to the conclusion that it's a bit of a mess. Now don't get me wrong, I see what the developers were going for when they made this and I can see the story they wanted to tell, however they just came up short in their execution of what they wanted to accomplish overall. So while yes its not the worst game I've played, I do however have to say that it just doesn't necessarily do the things it needs to do in order for me to consider it an immediate buy either, due to translation issues and problems with the puzzles and hint system. So once again I gotta give credit to the devs at the end of the day because their idea has a solid foundation. So if they can just tweak and go the extra mile next time, then I can see their next title doing fairly well. Till then I say wait for a price drop of $5 and hold off for the short term.
Defoliation is out now on Nintendo Switch
*Review code provided by COSEN