The Way Remastered Nintendo Switch Review by SwitchWatch
Developer: Sonka (originally by Puzzling Dream)
Release Date: April 20th 2018
Price as of Article: $11.99 USD, £13.49 GBP
Game code provided by publisher for review
The Way is a cinematic platforming adventure game originally from Puzzling Dream, it was released last year on Steam but thanks to SONKA it’s been remastered and published on the Nintendo Switch. With an aim to hark back to classic games such as Flashback and Another World with modern integrations, it’s certainly one to keep an eye on. Maybe.
The story of The Way is a powerful one. You are a former interplanetary researcher stricken with grief of losing his wife. Death has claimed her. Unable to bare it, he plans an escape back to the planet he visited long ago that promised eternal life.
The opening scenes are genuinely excruciating, in a good storytelling way though. As you carry your wife’s corpse back to your apartment and ready for transportation, it’s immediately clear what your motivations are. There’s very little dialogue in the game, your character is very solitary in his mission for the most part, and his utterances are few and far between. The thing with this game though is you don’t need dialogue or exposition. Everything is told visually, although your primary goal is often explained which helps stop you getting lost.
I like the story and it’s one of the biggest assets of the game for me. After landing on the mysterious planet you want to know if you will succeed or not.
The sound department is top notch. The music is incredible and really adds so much atmosphere to proceedings. The first escape section has some really great synths that add to the tense, secretive situation. On the later planet, that becomes much more wondrous and mystical as you search the unknown. While it’s not always prominent and you probably won’t remember any specific pieces, it’s just great for the overall package of the game.
There is voice over for your character’s sparse utterances and it’s nice. I believe this was added to the Switch port of the game and I think it’s a great addition if that’s the case. It may not seem like much, but it’s kind of cool and I think I would miss it if it wasn’t here.
Visuals & Performance
Visually, the game is just as sublime. The initial chapter of the game may impress you with its detail but you probably won’t appreciate it so much thanks to its dark, gritty nature. When you get to the planet however, that’s when you will see just how gorgeous this game is. You can see how much attention went into making the game look this good. If the classic game Another World was made today, this is what it would look like.
I will say that the main character is a little less detailed compared to the environments and he does look on the scrawny side, so that was a slight downer on the visual presentation but that’s all that bothered me. The rest of the game looks superb.
Performance-wise well, it runs smoothly, but there is a serious issue with the game that I really need to talk about. I’ll be saving that for the gameplay section however since it ties in with it so intrinsically.
It’s obvious what the influences for the game are. Like the visual and audio sections, The Way Remastered really channels games like Another World and I know that comparison may be tired and old, but it’s so perfect. I’m positive that if Another World was made today, it would be just like The Way Remastered.
As a genre you would put this in the cinematic platforming adventure game pigeonhole. It’s not a genre we see very often today. What makes this cinematic as opposed to standard is the high focus on the story as well as the slow paced, methodical nature of the gameplay. While there are speedy moments in The Way, mostly you’ll be taking your sweet time investigating areas. Even if some games fit a similar description, there’s a very distinct feeling these kind of games have. For example, I could describe Typoman in a similar way: It’s slow, has stylish cutscenes, lots of puzzles. But it just doesn’t have the same feeling that The Way does.
The gameplay begins with your character escaping his facility by transporting his precious cargo to his ship. It starts as a bit of a stealth game, but later progresses to more of a classic slow-paced adventure platformer. Your character is fairly nimble but jumping isn’t his strong point, making every jump a tense action. It’s a little more forgiving than you would think just looking at it since you have a ledge grab that’s very generous. Still, if you fall, you will probably die because The Way follows the realism route by killing you if you fall from too great of a height.
It’s a game where you will perish a good few times, more than you will probably like to admit. Death will not only come from mistakes in jumping as there are plenty of enemies prowling the environments to strike you down too. Your character can’t take much of a beating either as it’s a one hit death kind of game. In this regard it truly channels the games that inspired it. I wouldn’t say difficult is the word as it’s more trial and error when it comes to how hard it may be. That may instantly put people off which is fair but the game is far less punishing when it comes to death as dying will instantly respawn you a few metres away.
While you’re initially defenceless, soon you will pick up a gun that can be aimed 360, just about, with the right analogue stick. This makes you somewhat more confident when it comes to the enemies as you can pick them off well before they are in your striking range.
Eventually you will pick up extra powers. But here is where the problem comes in for my review. After about an hour or more playtime, the game just broke. Every time I picked up the first power up the game crashed over and over again, sending me back about 20 minutes of play initially. Although after having to replay the same section over and over again to reach that point I got it down to about 5 or 10 minutes. Still, I could not get passed this section as the game just refused to let me do so. I know many outlets have reviewed this game already before me and I didn’t see any mention of technical problems, but for me The Way is a disaster. I can keep trying to get through this section but the game just doesn’t want me to. In that regard I gave up. It’s a downright shame considering up to that point I was really enjoying it and I thought it had the potential to be a good game overall.
Maybe not everyone will experience it, but there is a definitely a broken game in here whether you are unlucky enough to find it like me.
Note: After the review was written, the publisher acknowledged the issue with the game and addressed it in a Reddit post you can view here to help you overcome the problem: https://redd.it/8de2i2
For value, at $11.99 and £13.49, I’m sure The Way will present decent value once it is fixed. I was enjoying the cinematic experience despite a few niggling frustrations and it’s something a bit different compared to the average platformer. I think it would be good value for your money. Like I said though, I can’t really say either way at this point in time since I haven’t experienced enough of it.
Hard hitting story