Syndrome | Nintendo Switch Review
Syndrome is a science fiction survival horror game developed by Camel 101 and published by RedDeerGames. It is available now on Windows PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, and for my review, I will be talking about the Nintendo Switch version.
You awaken from cryosleep on board the Valkenburg, a drifting spacecraft, to find out that something sinister has happened to most of the crew. You need to explore the ship and try to figure out what happened while talking to two conflicting survivors and fighting off mutated horrors along the way. I felt that the story was a good one, even though it is not an entirely original concept, I think it was delivered really well.
In terms of gameplay, Syndrome is a first-person survival horror with puzzles, combat, and some stealth elements. You will traverse around the Valkenburg to find key cards and items to open doors which unlock new areas of the ship. The movement controls are too sensitive with no way of changing them, and button presses for interacting with objects and for combat are very delayed and sometimes unresponsive. You are armed with a wrench as a melee weapon and the odd firearm to aid you in your quest. Combat in Syndrome is tough due to the clunky and sometimes unresponsive controls, and you really feel up against it whenever you encounter any of the creatures on board the ship. Ammo is very scarce, and you get the feeling that the game definitely wants the player to feel like they are underpowered against the enemies. There are no checkpoints either, you need to find hard save points which are dotted around the ship, which adds to the difficulty, however, this is a tried and trusted method for any good survival horror game, and it really works well in my opinion.
The inventory system is a total mess, the cursor is very slow and often unresponsive to analogue stick movements. There is also no way to quickly select an item. You have to click on the item then move the annoying unresponsive cursor down to “use” and then click again. The game comes with no “options” or “settings” menu, so there is no way to change anything. I had hoped to be able to adjust the movement sensitivity or even adjust the brightness settings slightly, but this is impossible, there is literally nothing you can change in this game.
Syndrome also comes equipped with very long loading times and having glanced at some reviews for versions on other platforms, it seems like this is not just a Nintendo Switch issue. I suffered from a lot of frame drops and overall stuttering, which I assume to just be a poor port to the Switch, as so often happens.
Visually, Syndrome is just okay, it doesn’t look terrible, but it also won’t set your world on fire. The lighting is a bit hit or miss with some areas of the ship being way too dark which makes it very difficult to navigate. Again, there is no way to adjust the in-game brightness settings. The sound design and music work in perfect harmony to create an incredibly tense and spooky atmosphere. I thought it was wonderful.
So overall then, I loved the story and the overall idea behind the game, although I feel it was let down by a poor port to the Nintendo Switch along with the lack of any kind of options menu and very clunky menu navigation. Solely on gameplay alone, this would score very low for me, however, the story and atmosphere really bring this one out from down in the gutter. I would have loved to give this a higher score, but with all the issues I have already mentioned, I just can’t. At the current price point, I would not recommend buying this unless you can find it on sale somewhere. There are much better and more polished survival horror games you can buy for this price.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
For more information on Syndrome please use the following links...
Many thanks to RedDeerGames for the Review Key.