Seeing all these great games hitting the Switch, all I could think about was “Cut the boys and me some slack!”. Since we are loaded with great games for our beloved newest console from Nintendo, it is hard to keep up with all the releases. With all those new launches, there was one that snagged my attention right away: Sling Ming. This title sounded so funny and interesting, I did some research on that before I requested the game code which was provided for SwitchWatch from Good Night Brave Warrior. And here we are: my review for Sling Ming, another puzzle game, is done. Will I slowly become the puzzle game princess of SwitchWatch?!
You start in a castle conceivably located in China as an earthquake strikes the country. Everyone’s daily life is affected by it, so our princess Ming decides to investigate the reason for Earth’s sudden outburst; or Topius as it is named here in the game. As she speaks to Iso, a man in a green cloak, a hole in the floor opens. Without any hesitation, she jumps down it and into a basement finding an antique oxylane.
This handy machine was used years ago to clean up the heavily polluted air. Other than a reliable source of fresh air, it functioned as a transportation device as well. Princess Ming enters this strange looking metal box, jumps into a suit that resembles the one for an astronaut and from there your journey begins.
As you proceed through the first world, Grandal, the main objective starts to build itself up. You have to retrieve three crown jewels. They are relics that judge the one collecting them. If the person has an ill mind, the poor soul will face death after laying hands on them. Normally, the gems are used to crown queens and kings.
Each of those gemstones stands for a characteristic: green is for compassion, red is for courage and blue stands for honesty. Every world has the colour suited to the individual jewel. To retrieve balance over the universe again, Ming has to collect all three of them while traveling by a rocket from planet to planet. But the story does not end here, of course. To avoid giving any spoilers, I will stop now. Just let me tell you that you are not only retrieving all three jewels, but also something from Ming’s past as well…
A solid soundtrack swings along with our princess capturing the individual environments. I like the songs and found it pleasant to listen to with the various, not-too-short pieces. In some games, if you get stuck in a loop, it can get tedious. Not in Sling Ming, though. Each song has a theme in mind, and you can feel this idea behind them. For example, you have two very contrary worlds: Hetta and Blänk. Hetta is burning red with lots of lava and heat around. Blänk is the exact opposite. Everything is cold and has an almost sterile touch to it. The music in Blänk is mostly very electronic. Sometimes, there is hardly any melody at all. In Hetta, the music slowly builds up like flames built up in intensity from burning something down. More variety would be great, but this is honestly me nitpicking.
The sound effects are on point as well. Every explosion makes you feel its impact, each whir of that line Ming hangs onto is on point. Everything has a crisp sound which places a well-rounded object in a perfect environment.
Visuals and Performance
With four worlds in total, you have a good change of surroundings. When you start in Topius and move over to Grandal, a rich flora blooms around you perfectly symbolizing the colour green. Green like the jewel you obtain in this world. Moving over to Hetta, everything turns red, and you can feel the heat in your fingertips as you balance Ming over piping hot lava. Blänk cools you and everything else down with all those cool tones. In every stage there is so much love put into the details, so it makes a great overall impression.
Since the gameplay of Sling Ming is so unique, I am happy to tell more about it. You can choose between playing with the controller or the tip of your fingers. I preferred actually touching the screen to let Ming slide from one point to another. But of course, if this is something that throws you off and you would rather play with the controller, it is more than adequate as well as easy to do so.
You cannot walk with the girl named Ming in this game at all. Only in the brief moments she actually touches the ground, you have to rely on gravity and the movement of the sling completely. If you are playing with the controller, you select the desired spot with the left analogue stick. When you press A, you will actually start to move. With X, you are picking up objects and hold onto them. The actual translation onto the buttons and sticks are indeed well done.
When playing with your fingers, all you do is tap the position you want Ming to move to. It is as simple as that. Choose the style that suits your personal taste. Both of them work fantastically as you play.
Sling Ming starts with only limited ability to move from point to point. Sometimes, you are provided with green points you can actually move around to adjust the location Ming will end up. Moving them in different directions is important to reach the goal of each stage. With almost 50 stages, you never get bored and the difficulty rises with each world. Along the way, you gain new abilities and new ways to move with Ming.
All of the levels are designed with love, but some stages are really unique. I found myself clawing on moving platforms able to manipulate their magnets to move them as I liked as well as blowing up some rocks. Sometimes, you have to be quick to grab onto a lever, or hot lava will rush out of the ground or the wall to burn our poor brave princess. And you have to be creative while avoiding obstacles to open a blocked entrance and proceed further.
If your creativity runs dry and you are willing to give up (for now!), you can always skip a level with stars you can collect. These stars can be obtained by fulfilling little given tasks for each stage like using the grappling hook only three times or collecting a certain amount of coins. So you can see that challenge does not only apply to beating the stage itself.
Oh! If you want to, you can collect a lot of achievements along the way, too!
Here we are! My final verdict for Princess Ming’s adventure. At first, I was skeptical as I read that it is a heart-driven story. I encountered a few puzzle games in my gamer life, and none of them have been heavily story driven. Well, Sling Ming isn’t either. While it does not have the best story in the world, there actually is one! And I enjoyed it along the way. Maybe the boss battles were too unfair sometimes, and I kept replaying over and over because every single hit kills you instantly. But practice makes perfect.
Sling Ming always performed very well. Very smooth, no breakdowns or anything while I had played that game. I found the design of Ming herself and the other things she encounters, no matter if they are organic or not, very pleasant. Our little princess heroine looks very cute overall and suits well in the universe she is thrown in. And the price suits this game very well, too! You will get a lot of content with almost 50 levels and a tough challenge overall for $11.99 / £10.79. I have spent a great amount of time with this game and can clearly state that it is worth its price tag. Although, if you are a beginner of the puzzle genre, I would suggest an easier title to start with.
* A review copy of Sling Ming was provided to SwitchWatch by Good Night Brave Warrior.
Actually a good story!
Boss battles made me cry
Low replay value