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Doomsday Vault review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Flightless
Developer: Flightless
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Yes
ESRB: E

One of the big things that got me back into console gaming about a decade ago was, ironically, getting an iPod Touch: I bought one for my music collection, quickly got sucked into the App Store, and soon after that realized how much I hated touch controls. No matter how nice the games looked or how interesting the mechanics or gameplay were, I always came back to the fact that I really disliked blocking off part of the screen with my hand.

I’m reminded of that as I play Doomsday Vault. It looks gorgeous and it has a decent idea at its core, but guiding your little robot around the screen with your finger — particularly when there are some areas where you need to move quickly and with a bit of precision– is a constant hindrance to enjoying the game. (No surprise that the game got its start as an Apple Arcade exclusive.)

To be fair, the game also allows for you to use a more traditional control scheme. And this certainly makes it more enjoyable, to a point. Controlling your robot still isn’t without some headaches here and there — there are points where you still need to use touch controls, since the buttons make the task even harder — but it at least makes it possible to play the game without blocking off too much of the screen.

Mind you, even with this, Doomsday Vault still faces a problem that’s associated with a lot of mobile games: it’s kind of shallow. While the idea behind it is good — as the aforementioned little robot, you’re wandering around a post-apocalyptic grid, finding plant life — in practice it feels pretty repetitive. The game may add a few twists and turns here and there, but not enough to make it feel that varied. Combine that with the fact the game is fairly short, and it’s easy to see why it feels like they could have done a lot more with the premise.

I should note that I didn’t dislike Doomsday Vault by any stretch of the imagination. It’s very nice to look at, and, visually at least, the game feels just at home on a console as I imagine it did on a phone. Add in the whole environmentalist robot angle, and the game manages to borrow some charm from Wall-E.

But it’s not enough to make Doomsday Vault a must-play game. I’m sure it’s great on a phone, where your play sessions may be a little shorter, but it doesn’t feel substantive enough to be worth any major investment of time or money now that it’s on the Switch.

Flightless provided us with a Doomsday Vault Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B