Necro Worm for the Nintendo Switch is a cheap game from the eShop, and can most easily be described as a Snake/Puzzle Game hybrid. You take control of an undead worm slithering throughout a dreary garden in a Halloween type setting. Your goal is to collect all the items on a floor without crossing over yourself, which leads to an instant game over. The items all fit the theme, being brains, eyeballs, jack o’lanterns, etc. For Halloween, this is a game you can spend a few minutes on before a party or just to get yourself in the mood. Otherwise, it feels like App Store shovelware ported onto the Switch.
My first and biggest gripe with the game is the controls. I’ve never had any gripes playing a Snake game, even with the auto movement it tends to turn fine. Necro Worm’s controls are dismal on the Switch’s D-Pad. The game takes place on a grid, so you’d expect one button press to be one grid movement, but it’s not. The Necro Worm can move in half steps, and never moves backwards. So if you’ve half stepped, you have committed to that movement and either have to work from there or, most often, restart the entire level. Restarting the level in itself takes about ~8-10 seconds, and that’s if you skip the “3,2,1” countdown by trying to move. Controlling with the Joystick is a bit more tolerable, but making turns tends to lead to the same result, requiring you to tediously plan your movements and ever so carefully collect the coins. The score system is based on time as well, so if you don’t move fast you can’t get the max score. So the player is stuck in between the positions of having to struggle with their moves to go quick and then restarting every time a misstep is made, even if you were meaning to go to a different square.
The mechanics of this game are typical puzzle game fare. You’ve got switches, portals, chests for hints, etc. The hint chests just give you a solution to the level you’re on, but be wary as if you mess up the movement you don’t get the hint back. Sometimes you have to step on switches to open cages to get the coins, sometimes you’ve got portals that take you to a different part of the map. All of these are taught through very simple introductory levels, as to ease the player into the more complicated things.
As for the theme, the game fits squarely in a “Halloween” box. That’s really all it is, and it doesn’t have much else. The music is droning, and after a while it feels almost necessary to mute. The sounds effects are just stock coin sounds and don’t really offer much aside from the confirmation of getting an item. This honestly doesn’t correspond with the items being body parts, but I’m thankful for it being a coin sound instead of a squishy one. With that being said, there isn’t much variation in environments or anything, and the worm looks disgusting, as it’s meant to. This doesn’t really add or take away anything from the experience, but it can get tiring looking at the same gross worm over and over as its head spins around to try to turn and grab coins, only to get hit with the FAILED sound effect and forced to restart when you fail. After a couple of times failing due to the controls, it can get downright frustrating. This complaint comes straight from someone who’s failed one too many levels from the worm making a half step when a different direction was input. There are times where it feels less like a puzzle game and more like a worm wrangler.
All in all, the charm would hit a bit better if this was something you’d play exclusively for Halloween, and kept it at that. Necro Worm is a decent enough puzzle game plagued by bad controls and a hit or miss aesthetic. The droning music and sound effects don’t help much, and the restart times are too long. This move to Switch might have passed a bit easier if there were touch controls involved for playing it gamepad style, but those are completely absent. If it was a free game from the store, I’d say pick it up around Halloween, but you actually need to pay for it. There are much better free games you can play on your phone, and probably better games you can find on the Nintendo Switch marketplace for under $10.
Score: 3 out of 10
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch