Behind the Screen Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: 18light

Publisher: COSEN

Release Date: 23rd August 2018

Price as of Article: $9.99 USD, £8.09 GBP

Game code provided by COSEN_NET for review

Story

Why is this happening to me?

Why have these events lead to my father’s death?

The story in “Behind the Screen” is a bleak tale of a young boy growing up in Taiwan with his father. This is an era where the internet isn’t rightly available and fake news is prevalent throughout society. Ming’s inability to distinguish what’s real and what is fantasy, causes a lot of distress to our main character which results in few very dark chapters in his life.

The story is a compelling one, but the conclusion left me thinking about it well after the credits had rolled…

Gameplay

Let me just say first: this is definitely not a child friendly title. I think the game touches on certain themes which I think wouldn’t be suitable for a younger audience.

“Behind The Screen” is a suspense puzzle action game. With elements of puzzle solving and action gameplay.  The game is set in Taiwan in the 1970’s, you control a young boy called Wang Yu Ming who lives with his alcoholic father. What is apparent at the very beginning is Ming can’t see what’s really going on around him, most of his encounters are pure fantasy, the real world is not so magical.

There’s also live-action sections spread throughout 3 chapters with a total of 15 levels to play through.

These are not done with your typical in-game cut-scenes but with live actors.  Which I thought was a great way to tell parts of the story.

Behind the Screen screenshot

You start the story at kindergarten where Ming is currently sleeping in the classroom with other toddlers.

When you first get to control the main character, you’re confronted with your first slide puzzle mechanic. The controls are really easy to use. Moving with the directional pad or analogue stick. Pressing the A button holds on to objects, and pressing the directional pad will push it. You can examine certain objects in the game to acquire more information and discover certain keepsakes and newspaper clippings, that will be stored in your Notes, which you can read later on.

You will also be able to talk to other individuals later on by simply approaching them and pressing the A button. As the level continues you soon realize Ming hasn’t got a strong grip on reality as what he sees isn’t what is actually there.

As the chapter continues we’re confronted by a giant spider at one point who pursue Ming down a hallway which is visually shocking and terrifying as he desperately tries to escape kindergarden to see his father.

Behind the Screen screenshot 2

Again it’s all in his mind and is in reality his teacher, who just trying to find him and return him to his classroom believing he is acting up.

Gameplay is slow at times but you’re always progressing forward finding out new parts of the story which keeps you engaged till end.

As you progress you encounter different situations that involve different types of gameplay and controls.  But all are pretty easy to understand and use.

There’s a stealth section where you move through a set path, but are trying to avoid teachers walking through corridors. You can hide in bins full of toys to escape their search lights. As you move about, you cause small sound waves, and if a teacher hears it then you’re sent back to the last checkpoint.
Thankfully you’re never sent back too far, so you can continue and retry that section again.

Behind the Screen screenshot 3

There’s even some combat in the game too. One section takes the form of you, as a gladiator, fighting monsters e.g. bullies. You can gather individuals in this section to increase your lives while exploring, preparing for the up and coming battle against a rather obnoxious bully. Then you’re taken to an area where you have to fight using timed button presses. Pressing buttons at the right time to either attack with your broad sword or use your shield to deflect attacks.

I really enjoyed these sections but they where all over too quickly.

There’s another gameplay section where you’re fighting, and it requires a different approach. Here you need to press a button on the coloured areas of a black bar as a small line moves along it.  Your character attacks if you successfully hit the coloured areas. While missing them, causes your enemy to attack you instead.

Behind the Screen screenshot 4

Again I really liked these sections of the gameplay.

Like I said before there are collectibles to collect in each chapter; these are located everywhere, so a keen eye is needed to find them all.
These have snippets of information tied to them, which you can read in the Notes on the main menu at any time.

One issue I had, was that some of the sentences didn’t always make sense, I wasn’t sure if it was done on purpose or was due to bad translation.

It wasn’t a long game either. I completed it within an hour of play. Some people may get stuck on some of the combat sections, so it could last longer.

I feel like this isn’t a game, it’s more of a story driven experience, which I still really enjoyed even though it wasn’t very long.

Audio

I really enjoyed the audio. The soundtrack was deep and meaningful at times, while other times it was brass and intense. I felt like it was very fitting for the overall presentation. All of the sound effects were fine to.

Visuals & Performance

The visuals in “Behind the Screen” were really nicely done. The art for Ming and other cast members have a lovely art style to them. Apparently, the game’s setting is reminiscent of 1970’s Taiwan, and I can see that in its overall design. I love the character designs and locations. Performance was flawless, everything ran great, no complaints or issues to speak of.

The game also supports screenshots as well as video capture, which I always like using.

Value

It’s not going to be for everyone, however for me I really loved it! Yes it’s short, but there are some collectables you can collect as well as revisit any chapters you wish after completion. I’m already on my second playthrough, as it’s one of them games you need to play a few times to understand everything that’s going on. It’s more of an experience than your typical game, but one I’m glad I got to try first hand.

Pros

P

Interesting gameplay sections in all chapters

P

Collectibles

P

Story that left me thinking after credits rolled

Cons

P

Short

P

Not suitable for children

P

Translation issues