A Night at the Races | Nintendo Switch Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Developed by Mushy Jukebox and published by Nakana Games, A Night at the Races is available on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch. I will be reviewing the Nintendo Switch version playing in handheld mode. The game starts out as a point and click where you take control of Nathan. Nathan needs money to pay his landlord or he will be evicted from his apartment, so he decides to enter an online gaming tournament to earn the much needed cash in order to save his home.
At the beginning of A Night at the Races, you must point and click your way, as Nathan, through a variety of options in order to download the game “No Berry Left Behind” onto your computer. This is a hybrid platform-runner with a captivating narrative on top. You play as a berry and the aim is to move through each level, jumping and dashing up walls, avoiding the obstacles and collecting all the berries you can in the quickest time possible without losing all your health. If you leave any berries behind as you progress through the level, you will lose some health. This all sounds very simple and in theory, it is a very simple concept however, make no bones about it, this game is TOUGH and takes no prisoners. Due to the fact you can not actually stop your little berry from moving, it makes it extremely difficult to judge the timing of jumps and rebounds off of walls. After every 10 levels you complete, Nathan stops playing the game and a fascinating story is revealed via some point and click gameplay.
The controls are simple. Left and right to change direction, A to jump, ZR to dash and Y to restart the level but don’t let these unsophisticated controls deceive you. It is extremely difficult to control your berry and to actually get it to do what you want. This takes a lot of getting used to and I’m never sure I ever quite mastered it. The game is super fast paced so once you start to lose control of your berry, it's almost impossible to reign it back into a position where you feel you can continue the level. The soundtrack was wonderful, each level has its different music and each piece of music fits perfectly within the environment it has been assigned. Visually this game looks great, with “old school” arcade platform style graphics for “No Berry Left Behind” and a unique minimalistic art style to Nathan's “real” world.
I found A Night at the Races to be equally infuriating as it is addictive. Once you die or fail a level, and you will fail, the game will send you back to the start of that level to try again. On some levels I found myself having to try 20 times or more in order to clear it which, as you can imagine, started to get the rage building inside me, however once I finally managed to clear that level, it felt incredibly satisfying and left me wanting more and more. With over 200 levels and additional game modes to unlock, there is a lot of playtime here. With the addition of online rankings and leaderboards, it adds a touch of competition which also makes things more interesting. This would be a perfect game for any speedrun fanatics out there. A Night at the Races is genuinely one of the most challenging and frustrating games I have ever played but even after the countless retries and deaths I found it very hard to put this game down. This would be a great game to add to anyone's collection.
PaultheBrave09's Rating: 3.5 bouncing Berries out of 5.
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Many thanks to Nakana Games for the Review Key.