“Hardcore” may be an overused term for video games nowadays, but I assure you, today’s title, Unit 4, doesn’t care and will be as hardcore as possible. But is it the good kind? Or the bad kind? Let’s find out.
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
As the title suggests, there are 4 playable characters that may be switched at any time. Their names are Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow, and they all have different abilities:
Blue is the only one who can double jump,
Green has a grapple hook that he uses to reach any surface,
Red is slower but can charge enemies and objects,
Yellow is a shaman that can switch to a ghostly form and become almost invincible. He can also move through some walls.
The plot is as simple as it can be: someone has stolen an ancient artefact and it’s up to our 4 heroes to find it. The game is divided into different worlds and levels. Each world has a mid-boss and a boss at the end of it.
It’s nothing we haven’t seen before in games, but the twists arrive when talking about our four heroes: not only you can switch them, but you can play in co-op with up to 4 persons. The game is also filled with funny easter eggs, such as planet “BR3X-IT” or “R33T-T4IL”, and has some very nice customization features, both for our heroes and the ship.
GOOD ON PAPER, NOT IN REALITY
That’s where things start to get messy. The game is riddled with tons of unpolished aspects, such as unclear hitboxes, weird camera angles that may lead to blind jumps, very little air control when jumping which often results in death AND you can almost beat the entire game playing only with Blue.
The game made me feel frustrated every time I died for apparently no good reason. But not only that, levels are way too long. While some “shorter” ones may last around 15 minutes, other ones may be half an hour long, or even more! Luckily, the game has a checkpoint system but, for whatever reason, if you quit the game, you need to restart the whole level. The whole game is based on trial and error. The chances of you completing a level without dying are close to zero. I really wanted to have fun with this game, but every time I played a level, I didn’t want to see what came next, I wanted it to be over. Also, for whatever reason, you can’t use the d-pad.
As I said, you can almost play the whole game with Blue. Sometimes, you may need to switch to Red and Yellow, but that’s about it. In my playthrough, I never used Green except for killing some enemies that can be killed with the grapple hook.
In a few words, the game not only is hard because of how it was meant to be, but it’s also unnecessarily hard as a result of those unpolished aspects.
NOT FOR EVERYONE?
The game is not meant for everyone. Not at all. Players who love hardcore platformers, especially older titles such as Super Mario Bros The Lost Levels or Mega Man may find pleasure in this game, but much more casual players won’t.
While the concept for Unit 4 sounds good, it’s filled with tons of unpolished features. I believe that if the game was tested more it may have been a really great game, but for what it is right now, the game is suitable only for the lovers of the genre and no one else. Neat humour and nice customization won’t be able to save the game.
Reviewed by Senpavo on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by Qubic Games.