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Pro Gymnast Simulator review for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: RedDeerGames
Developer: Walaber Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

If you were to go by this “fail compilation“, you might think that Pro Gymnast Simulator was designed to somewhere between QWOP and Goat Simulator. You might expect it to be some crazy ragdoll physics simulator, where failures are kind of the point of the game and you get to fling your on-screen avatar around the uneven and parallel bars with no regard for human life.

However, even though that compilation was put out by the game’s publisher, once you actually start playing Pro Gymnast Simulator you quickly discover that, actually, its title isn’t meant to be tongue-in-cheek. It really wants to simulate the experience of being a gymnast, which means endlessly practicing to get your leaps and dismounts just right. It expects that you’ll play the game more like it’s portrayed in its launch trailer, as your gymnast gracefully flips and twirls and bounces across increasingly complicated courses.

Unfortunately, the way the game is meant to be played is a lot less enjoyable. You spend a long time learning how to swing your legs back and force, and then spend an even longer time learning how to build momentum so that you can swing yourself from one bar to another.

It’s about as exciting as you’d imagine.

Annoyingly, given the aforementioned fail compilation, Pro Gymnast Simulator doesn’t actually glory in your failures all that much. You can dismount awkwardly, you can fling yourself backwards, you can bend yourself up in half – and the most you’ll get are a few birds flying around your head while you lie there, motionlessly, until you go into the pause menu to restart the level. While that makes sense from the point of view that the game is focused entirely on making your character a better gymnast, it also means that it’s hard to really enjoy it whenever you fail – which is something you’ll do quite a bit of, given the game’s real focus.

And given that focus, it’s hard to be too upset with Pro Gymnast Simulator for not focusing on failure. It’s a game that genuinely seems to want to help players understand what it’s like to be a gymnast. But just because the game has its heart in the right place, it doesn’t make it any more interesting. Great intentions are fine, but as Pro Gymnast Simulator shows, they don’t make for compelling gameplay.

RedDeerGames provided us with a Pro Gymnast Simulator Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-