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Unlock the King 3 review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: QUByte Interactive
Developer: Minimol Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

I’m honestly shocked that Unlock the King 3 didn’t start its life as a mobile store game. Everything about it, from its relatively minimalist graphics to it’s simple-ish gameplay feels like it would be much better suited to playing on a phone than on a Switch or a PC.

Well, almost everything. There’s the little matter that Unlock the King 3 would be a pretty lousy mobile game, for the same reasons that it’s a pretty lousy Switch game.

For one thing, the gameplay isn’t at all intuitive. There’s little in the way of explanation, and even after you figure out what you’re supposed to be doing — clearing a path for the king to the other end of the chess board — it’s never totally clear how that works sometimes. I frequently solved levels just by moving other pieces around randomly, which doesn’t seem like it should be happening in a well-made puzzle game.

This, in turn, is an issue because Unlock the King 3 is trying to be chess, but it’s also trying to be a Rubik’s Cube, and the two things don’t seem to be all that compatible. You want to play around with the different sides of a Rubik’s Cube until you find the right combination, whereas this game’s chess board restricts what you can do, and in this case that means that you often work the board/cube into a position where it absolutely can’t move and you have to search around the screen until you find the button that allows you to restart the level.

Which points to the game’s other issue: the touch controls are awful. It’s hard to manipulate the camera. It’s hard to move the board/cube around. It’s hard to move the game pieces. Basically, whatever Unlock the King 3 wants you to do, it constantly gets in your way of doing it.

And that, more than anything else, is why it’s impossible to recommend it. Even if Unlock the King 3 were the simplest, most straightforward game imaginable, it would still be a constant chore to play it. Couple lousy controls with gameplay that’s not all that interesting or intuitive, and you can see why — whatever the platform — it’s probably not worth playing

QUByte Interactive provided us with a Unlock the King 3 Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-