Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Steel Crate Games
Developer: Steel Crate Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 2+
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I have a confession to make make: despite the fact that Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes makes explicitly clear that it?s meant for at least two players, I played it at least as much solo as I did with someone else. While this may not have been the experience the game?s creators had in mind when they created it, I?m pleased to report that it?s every bit as playable — and as fun — when you play on your own as it is when you play as part of a team.

Admittedly, it also makes Keep Talking a little easier. After all, the way the game is designed, playing in pairs makes it tougher. One player sees the bomb on his or her screen, while their partner reads the bomb disposal guide that the developers offer on their site. The diffuser then tells the reader what?s on the bomb, and the reader searches the guide to tell them what steps to take to diffuse the bomb. By playing solo, you cut out the middle step, and just search the guide yourself, which removes some of the confusion that?s almost inevitable when two people are trying to describe things.

That said, the beauty of Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is that, intentionally or not, it works either way. Even if it gets slightly easier playing it by yourself, that doesn?t reduce the tension that?s inherent to the timer relentlessly ticking away the minutes, drawing you closer and closer to the bomb exploding. Likewise, even if you play solo, it?s still very easy to make mistakes, and the buzzer that tells you you?ve gotten a question wrong is no less panic-inducing for one person than it is for two.

Similarly, the game?s one drawback is there whether you?re playing by yourself or with others: after awhile, all the puzzles start feeling the same. Yes, you have the option of creating your own bombs, but it?s not like some hidden aspect of the game reveals itself when you do that. What you get on your first bomb is what you get on your hundredth bomb, even if the difficulty level may have decreased exponentially.

But in short bursts, that?s not a major problem, and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes was clearly designed for short bursts. It?s an interesting, tension-filled take on puzzle games, and that?s true however many people are playing it with you.

Steel Crate Games provided us with an Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-