Rotating Brave is about a boy who is trying to find his missing friend within the depths of an old and ancient ruin. His lost friend was a former shrine maiden who was trying to harness a powerful energy to end an epic war when something happened – the energy was released and destroyed all life. Our hero must use his legendary rotating blades to battle ancient guards within the old shrine, locate his missing friend, and discover his lost memories of the past.
Gameplay is very unique in Rotating Brave as the game plays out in a similar manner to Downwell, where you’re falling and having to defeat enemies on the way down.
However, Rotating Brave is a little different, as it’s not only about falling and destroying enemies, but you will also have to turn the Switch around upside down, the spinning system from horizontal to vertical positions as the game tells you to in between intermissions as you progress. And this is what makes it a unique experience to play on the Switch!
When you first boot up Rotating Brave, you need to have your system in a vertical position, e.g. tate mode. You should be aware, that while you can play the game in TV mode, it’s not advised, as the game needs to be played in handheld mode; the screen needs to be turned around as the game demands it.
Whenever you come to a new area, there will be an indication that you will need to turn your system around and it will show you the correct position with arrows.
While playing the game on its side, e.g. Tate mode, use the A button for jumping, quick press again will make your hero attack, B button can be used for using special abilities once you acquire enough energy, and you can also move with the left analogue stick. You can also use the touch screen with its virtual control stick and buttons if you so wish to.
It’s a really unique mechanic, but if a younger child is using or playing with the Switch like this, be mindful that they don’t drop the system.
When you begin, you’re sitting near a campsite in an old, dark ruin. You have access to 3 options here. One of them is skill, which after multiple playthroughs will unlock 6 unique abilities that can help you out if you’re surrounded by enemies or you could use the charged slash ability to damage enemies in front of you, or a passive ability to increase your multiplier.
You can also view your bag. Here, you can purchase 3 random items that can give you a chance to get further into the shrine. You collect orbs after you die, and these orbs can be used here or in shops located around the ruins.
And finally, you have an exit, which is always located to the right-hand side, and it will let you begin your adventure.
Once you have left the safety of the camp, you will immediately fall down a long shaft, until you hit a platform. You will need to navigate your way from platform to platform, dodging enemy attacks and attacking.
There will be a random assortment of enemies moving upwards. Some of these enemies will be airborne, while others may be standing or firing projectiles.
However, you’re not defenceless here. As you fall, holding or tapping A button will send you into a rotating fury of blades, and hitting enemies will result in them crumbling, dropping blue energy orbs that you should definitely collect.
The top of the screen shows your multiplier increases with each successful hit on right-hand-side. To the left, is your health bar, and in the middle, you can see how many times you can use your rotating attack in succession.
After you get to the next area, you’re prompted to turn the screen around and the perspective changes, and you will now be running along a path in a 2D platformer.
Shop Till You Drop!
You will sometimes encounter door-ways that are glowing with a blue hue. Inside some of these, you ’ll find shops where you can buy items to help you either collect more health or increase your damage output.
Also, you may find memory tablets that show the story of you and your missing friend. It’s always a good idea to check out all the doorways, so you don’t miss anything.
There are some rogue-like elements here that you should be aware of. If you die anywhere in your adventure, you’re dead for good and will return to the campsite at the beginning of the game. However, each death will reward you with experience and level you up, which will help you earn new abilities that you can acquire from the skills area in the campsite. Earned orbs can be used to purchase new items from the shop as well.
Every time you die, each level is procedurally generated, so most runs will feel different as the enemies and shops will be located in various places on the levels.
You will also encounter large end-level bosses, and quick reflexes and a keen eye on weak points will hopefully see you through.
One thing I’ve noticed is how hard Rotating Brave is. Death comes quickly, and a single tap from an enemy can see you taking damage. You only have 4 hit points, and I feel that they can be diminished quickly.
Upon dying, you get to see the results screen that shows your score, kills, the total time of the run, what level you got to, and your current reward.
Each of the abilities you can acquire can change how you play. Some may limit your spin attacks but give you better range, while others can increase your health and give you passive abilities, like if you take damage, then a blast will kill all surrounding enemies on the screen.
Picking the best item isn’t always the best course of action. It’s more important to maintain health as it’s in short supply, so I tend to focus on getting health power-ups and focusing on getting range abilities, so my sword attacks would have a bigger area of effect.
Every time you use your sword, your meter will deplete. Once it has, you won’t be able to attack anymore. Hitting an enemy gives you an extra attack, so hitting multiple enemies while moving means you can constantly attack without gaps in your attack pattern, increasing that important multiplier to get a greater reward when you die.
Audio in Rotating Brave is quite peaceful and calm in the campsite. The music here fits 8-bit pixel style well.
Swift sounds of your swords spinning are complemented by the clang of hitting one of many enemies as they splinter and crumble.
Visuals & Performance
Visuals in Rotating Brave have a really nice look to them. Pixel style art is displayed for characters and our main hero’s animation is smooth. The dark ruin has rays of light, a lot of blue hues cascading from every angle as you make your way deeper into the shrine. It’s rather nice, especially on the smaller screen of the Switch.
Performance has been great, and the unique tate mode is a totally new way to play this platformer. Turning the system is a new mechanic I’ve not yet seen implemented into many games. It’s an interesting way to play. I think a lot of people would be interested in this little gimmick.
The game supports screenshots and video capture.
The game icon isn’t great; it shows our main character standing in the ruin… It’s not fantastic.
For £4.99, it’s a pretty sound investment. It’s an enjoyable rogue-like platformer with really interesting use of the Switch’s tate mode; turning system around is a unique mechanic you probably won’t have seen before.
It may not be for everyone, but there’s a lot of replay value here as you can unlock all 6 skills and try to complete the campaign in one sitting.
Fast, quick, score-based combat
Turning system is unique
Handheld only/great for portable sessions
Playing in TV mode is not advised