Violett is one of those games that has been nudged onto the Nintendo Switch because it can be, not really for any other reason. It doesn’t take advantage of the system in any way, bar the touchscreen – which, and I have to say, is ridiculous considering the game can be played on the TV, too. With the game being a Point and Click adventure, this leaves you having to use the control sticks to move Violett herself and the on-screen cursor. Needless to say, I played most of the game in handheld for ease and when I say most of the game, it’s because aside from the visuals and some sound design, the game suffers from being strangled by its concept.
Violett, as a game to look at, is very pretty. It features lovely character design and environments that have a real sense of place. There are dark rooms lit by flickering ambience, lush greens and mechanical aspects that all give a genuine feeling of imagination. To match this, the developer has chosen to tell the narrative very loosely and with subtle nods here and there, rather than using fully scripted scenes or conversation branches. And this is where it falls flat – because this rich world needs a rich narrative voice to match it.
Sure, Violett does interact with creatures using gestures; she shakes her head when you’re not quite ready to solve a puzzle, meaning that you will have to return to the area a bit later. But there is no ownership of story and for a game like this to truly succeed, it needs something that pushes the player into finding story cues – which could enrapture the audience – as well as puzzle solutions.
Typical levels are typical for a Point and Click style of game – go here, press that, find object, place it there. Some puzzles are easily solved, some require trial and error and a few ask you to think outside the box. Thankfully the game never takes cues from the early 90’s raft of games that required a surreal mindset to make it past a certain point.
The game requires a lot of patience in both puzzles and plot. Sadly not much makes up for the latter, but if you’re feeling perplexed by an area there is a hint system in place which allows you to receive a clue, but does ask you to wait a while between receiving another – which is a nice touch as it forces you to think, rather than cop out.
The main reason to play Violett is the visuals. There’s a lavish amount of attention to detail in each area which is a lovely touch as you’ll be scanning them minutely for clues and cues, but and it’s a big but, those visuals are restricted to a small screen should you choose the easier control method of touchscreen.
It’s clear that the developer has a wonderful vision and creates something that feels it could have achieved a level of wonder seen in its obvious inspiration, Alice in Wonderland. However, there are too many small issues and the lack of any solid narrative makes the game, well, boring.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Forever Entertainment