Valiantly fighting illnesses throughout the body are Vita-Boy and Mina-Girl, the adorable protagonists of WayForward’s latest adventure game Vitamin Connection. This one feels a lot more family-friendly compared to some of their more popular titles, like the Shantae series. Playing it solo isn’t that great, but it’s a gratifying couch co-op game.
As per tradition with pretty much anything WayForward cranks out, its varicoloured visuals, cutesy character designs and charming cutscenes (with that webtoon-look to them) is paired up with an lively, eclectic soundtrack made up of corny rap songs and cheesy pop tunes. It all has charm. Same goes with the energetic voice acting and cartoon-like dialogue, as well.
In each level, you must navigate the Vitamin Ship through each host’s body in order to reach three vital locations. Along the way, you’ll be zapping bacteria, in between maneuvering around blockages in the body, as you figure out which path will take you to your intended destination. Zapping through walls of mucus and blobs of bacteria is something you’ll be doing a lot of, and it doesn’t feel particularly satisfying since they aren’t much of a danger.
Crossroads will conveniently offer you numerous paths around the body. You can expect a few dead ends with collectibles and plentiful amounts of health pick-ups stashed in them, though the map will show you all the routes you’ve taken or yet to travel down. While some passages can be a bit tight or filled with enemies or blockages, navigation isn’t too much of a hassle. The flow of the game is quite steady, and while there are times when it feels like it slogs, mashing buttons on the controller will help the game speed up a bit.
Once you reach a vital location, a sub-game will take place. These are small mini-games that range from playing ice hockey to a buzz wire game. Some require you to put the motion controls to good use, while others simply require the analogue sticks. They’re a simple distraction that aren’t too tough to complete solo, but they’re a bit trickier in co-op. Also, bonus points to their title cards; they each have unique and drastically offbeat art styles when compared to one another (it reminds me a bit of the WarioWare series). It’s nothing revolutionary or mind-blowing, but they’re still good to play.
Co-op mode mixes up the controls a bit, designating one player with the ability to rotate Vita-Boy and Mina-Girl’s vessel and aim their laser, while the other can move them around and fire. It even affects most of the aforementioned sub-games; one of them even uses the sensor at the bottom of the red analogue, where swinging your hand away from it will extend a crane arm in order to grab things. This makes for a devious twist for an extra challenge; it feels great to play this way.
Vitamin Connection is a somewhat-effective cure for boredom, but it’s better when you play with another person. A solo trek isn’t nearly as gratifying or demanding as its multiplayer mode, though the sub-games are a neat little way to break up the monotony of maneuvering around tunnels clogged with bacteria and rubble. At least the music and graphics are top-notch. The whole thing isn’t too bad, but it’s far from being WayForward’s finest title to come out in recent memory.