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Thunder Paw review for PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: SergioPoverony
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

Given that most Ratalaika games can be beaten — or at least Platinumed — in well under an hour, I can’t say that I’ve played many games from that publisher that wore out their welcome early. At the very least, they’re usually tolerable enough that it’s not a pain to stick it out under that last trophy pops.

So it should tell you something that within a few minutes of starting Thunder Paw, I was desperately eager for it to end. I hated it so much that every time I got a trophy, I checked the trophy list to see how much more time I had to spend with this lousy game.

The weird thing is, it doesn’t seem like it should be that bad. It’s a fairly generic run & gun platformer, where the only twist is that you’re a dog. Given that these games have been around since the days of the NES, you wouldn’t think that it would be awfully hard to screw things up.

But you’d be wrong, because this game is about as painfully un-fun as it gets.

The problem is that the “gun” half of that run & gun equation sucks. For some reason, the developers decided to give the eponymous Thunder crappy guns with zero range and lots of recoil, and to stick him in a world full of bullet sponges. Thus, you have to run right up to enemies, fire away, until you’ve been pushed out of range, and then run back up and do it again.

Against normal enemies, it’s a minorly annoying mechanic that you have to repeat a couple of hundred times. Needless to say, it feels like a chore partway through the second level. And against bosses, where they have absurdly long life bars and you’re stuck with your piddly little weapons that do nothing? That’s when I really wanted to throw my Vita across the room.

The good news (I guess?) is that if you stick with Thunder Paw, it has awfully generous checkpoints. The point of each level is to kill all your enemies. If you die in a level — and even though the enemies are braindead, you’ll die plenty because the game is designed so poorly — you’ll restart at the last checkpoint with all your kills intact, not just the number you had when you reached the checkpoint.

But a terrible game with generous checkpoints is still a terrible game. Thunder Paw manages to take a formula you wouldn’t think would be easy to screw up, and somehow finds a way to screw it up. It’s an abysmal game, and everything about it is best avoided.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Thunder Paw PS4/Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: D