Scrap (Switch) | Review

This is the tale of the little robot who wanted to be free, to break away from the production line by leaping around dodging inconveniently-placed lasers and buzzsaws. Created by Woodland Games, Scrap was originally a platformer for iOS and Android devices. Now it’s rolled its way onto the Switch, with no technical limitations holding it back anymore. Truthfully, it certainly plays like a phone game, microtransactions withheld, but that doesn’t make it any less of a lovely, lightweight side-scroller.

The controls could not be simpler. Press the A button to jump (twice for double-jumps), and B to drop through a platform. The store page boasts that you can play it with one hand, and that’s no lie. You won’t have to worry about stopping or the like, because the big twist here is that you can’t stop moving. Timing is essential here, as a poorly-timed leap or drop could send you hurtling down a pit, or into a laser, or toward a floating mine, or into a bout of steam that’ll trust you backwards, or… seriously, this factory is an unnecessarily complicated place. In any case, checkpoints are available to help in this challenging, trial-and-error sort of game.

Fuses are collectibles, but don’t really do anything beyond completing an objective.

Each map is made up of platforms near the bottom of the screen and in the middle. What’s cool is that there’s no specific route to memorize. While one path may be blocked off with a trap like a laser beam, you’ll usually have a bit of space to experiment with taking alternate routes. Power-ups, like a time-slowing pick-up and a damage-absorbing shield, can be collected on rare occasions. Some of these, however, may send you hurtling to your if used incorrectly. One of them may force you to roll like a ball to dodge electricity, while hampering your jump. The only way to know this on the first try is by trial-and-error.

It’s possible to slip under the pink laser, but chances are you’ll either jump into it, or will be dragged off-screen for dipping too low. How annoying…

Scrap offers 33 levels divided between three chapters (the store page has promised 11 additional levels as part of a brand new chapter as part of a free, future update). Each mission isn’t particularly long, but they’ll take more than a few attempts to beat. You’ll be given a trio of objectives, often ranging from collecting a set amount of fuses or jumping a certain amount of times. One of the toughest goals is to beat specific levels on one go without dying, which is a herculean task. What would’ve been handy is an option to disable the checkpoints so that you don’t have to reset the level everytime you botch up. Regardless, casual players will likely find having to memorize each level without slipping up too frustrating to even bother attempting. Allowing you to die no more than only once or twice would’ve been a little bit fairer, plus it really doesn’t compromise anything of value.

Thanks to the power of the Switch, Scrap runs at a much smoother rate than before. Its visuals are still top-notch, as seen by the vibrant stages that stand clearly apart from the silhouettes in the background. The titular robot buddy even stars in a few cutscenes in between each chapter – serious question: is it normal for a robot to look cute? Bit of a shame that the music is nothing you’ll be begging to hear again and again, but it’s better than obnoxiously tense club-bangers blaring in the background to shake you up.

It’s a tough cookie, but mostly fair. Checkpoints are a bit spacious and traps are numerous, however.

Scrap is a sweet, li’l port of a simple-but-devious platformer. Blessed with charming visuals and craftily-designed levels, it’s recommended for quick interval plays. Replayability comes in the form of beating the additional objectives, though these will only really appeal to players with bucket-loads of patience, considering how keen the game is to make you play through each level without dying once. For what it’s worth – just under a fiver – it’s easy to say that Scrap is a steal (or should that be ‘steel’?… no? Oh, okay then).

Leave a Reply