Your name is Agent Terry Cooper and you are dead.
After being brutally murdered during Mission IMPOSSIBLE (their capital letters not ours), you find yourself sentenced to an eternity in… pause for dramatic effect – the NECROSPHERE, a weird side-scrolling version of Hell, and there you must stay until your less-deceased partners find a way to bring you back from the dead.
Necrosphere Deluxe is a throwback to the Metroidvania style games of a bygone era that looks great. Retro styles are the go-to choice for indie devs these days, but when done right they can take you back to a time when things were simpler and life looked best in 8-bits. There are lots of little visual treats hidden away within the game too, like flickering fires and mouths filled with teeth chomping away to themselves in the sand underneath your feet.
But while the aesthetic is a treat, the gameplay is actually way harder than it needs to be thanks to the developers’ decision to utilise a two-button control mechanism that allows for side to side movement only. That means, if you miss something and it’s just above your head, you have absolutely zero chance of ever getting to it again because there’s no jump key. That’s not to say you can’t jump, but instead, you have to use special jump bubbles which are strategically placed around the game – and more often than not they’re not where you need them to be.
Fortunately, Necrosphere Deluxe has an infinite number of restarts, meaning when you die you respawn immediately, which makes sense seeing as you’re already dead. This was a genius decision by Cat Nigri as if you’re anything like me you’ll die again and again and again trying to do even the simplest of tasks. This isn’t because the puzzles are particularly challenging for our brains, but because of those damn controls.
If only Cat Nigri had thought to add a jump button, it could have saved the game from being quite so mediocre and nudged it into being a cheap, fun addition to your Switch catalogue.
After a strong start, Necrosphere Deluxe quickly loses your attention because of the controls – a gamble by the developers that simply doesn’t pay off. This should be a fun little throwback but instead ends up being a frustrating experience that might just have you throwing your Switch out of a window. It’s a shame because everything else about Necrosphere Deluxe is tons of fun.