WayForward has an impressive portfolio of games, including the likes of Shantae and Mighty Switch Force. I was pretty excited to try out another one of their games when I heard about Vitamin Connection. Now, there are different philosophies about what makes a game good or even great. Nintendo’s approach is to make games that are fun to play. WayForward seemed to be going for the fun factor with Vitamin Connection. Unfortunately, things pretty much fall apart right at the get-go.
“A Pill a Day…”
I’m going to be upfront and let you know that I only completed 50 percent of Vitamin Connection’s single-player campaign and the first level of co-op. My policy for reviewing games is to finish the whole thing before I put my thoughts on the blank page, but I just couldn’t complete this one. It’s not that it was too difficult. Rather, the game simply lacks any sort of motivation for the player to keep going.
The problem with Vitamin Connection is that it doesn’t know who its target player base is. Is this game for children? The gameplay would be too boring for them. Is this game for adults? The whole premise and story are lacking wit and intellect. I’m not sure who would actually want to play this game. It’s like it’s a promotion for taking pills when you’re sick but it isn’t sure which brand; just swallow pills when you think you might be sick or hurt.
At the Speed of Molasses
You pilot a joy-con-looking vehicle that generally travels at half the speed of frozen molasses. You can speed up traveling speed by two levels, which you’ll find yourself doing often (when the game lets you). You have a beam that you use for killing enemies that depletes slowly as you fire it. It recharges when you’re not using it, so you can’t infinitely fire your laser.
The thing is, do you really need to kill most enemies? No. Besides the chain streak that you can get for killing enemies without getting hit, there’s nothing you’re rewarded with for dispatching enemies. You don’t get points, health, or even happiness from getting rid of them. Obstacles can be dodged by rotating your vessel, plowing through same-color strings, and using a claw with horrible controls. For some reason, the developer decided to use motion controls for the claw ability. The controls don’t really work and force you to hold the controller in an awkward way so you can get to the d-pad.
I found myself ‘speeding’ through levels just to get to the end. I didn’t mind taking damage because there are so many health pickups. A game that doesn’t even give you the motivation to avoid damage fails at even simple game design.
The game’s concept of bosses is minigames that control differently from the main game. You’re put into one of a handful of games where your objective changes. One of the minigames has you playing the equivalent of air hockey with an AI that is easily manipulated into staying in one spot while you score goal after goal. Another one is a rhythm-like game that clearly wasn’t designed for one player.
Bland as Pills