Games Review: The Low Road (Switch, 2018) is a small indie gem in need of a little polishing

I wouldn’t blame you if this indie point and click puzzle adventure slipped through the cracks, especially with the extreme amount of indie titles being released each month. The Low Road follows a new spy hoping to get her foot in the door so she can get out and do some field work. It comments on the issue many millennials face in entering the workforce and being placed in menial roles.

Playing mostly as Noomi, you navigate a few sections of the game at a time in each of the game’s chapters. In this way, the game plays out sort of like a book, with you passing one stage before moving onto the next one. The game itself is very linear – there aren’t multiple puzzles you’re solving at the same time, and not that much to keep track of. Occasionally, you’ll also play as Noomi’s traitorous and insecure boss, who pops in mostly for banter.

The story is interesting enough to keep you playing the game, but is quite predictable in the way it plays out. At no point during the story I was surprised by what occurred, but that didn’t make it any less entertaining. In The Low Road, you’ll uncover an underground secret society and use your skills to rescue a kidnapped inventor. The story is short, with only five chapters playing out in about six hours in total.

The puzzles in The Low Road are fairly simple, with no instructions given to complete them. The true challenge is dealing with the terribly cumbersome controls on the Nintendo Switch. Being able to use the touchscreen on the Switch would make this game a whole lot more intuitive and much less frustrating.there’s no way to change the settings in this game, so you’re stuck with using the bumpers to hold objects. This issue isn’t applicable to the PC version of this game, so it’s probably best suited on that platform. Though being on the Switch allows it to be portable and increases the challenge of some of the puzzles.

The art style is appealing and highly suits the 1970s setting of the story. The movement animations can be quite stiff though, and the characters often have to move to a specific spot to perform actions. Actions also can’t be stopped once they begin so if you accidentally climb up a ladder, you have to wait until the movement is finished before you can climb back down again. It’s a little frustrating but the playable world in each chapter is not too large that it makes a huge impact. The small size of the scenes also helps reduce the walking time between grabbing items and talking to people, which can really build up in other point and click adventure games.

Example of in-game art

Overall this is a fun little gem of a title, but could’ve done with a better port for the Switch. The story is engaging and occasionally humorous, and is a pretty accurate commentary on society. The game is small and simple enough that you never really get stuck figuring out what to do next, which eliminates the usual frustrations encountered in more complicated point and click adventure titles. The puzzles are logical and simple. The Low Road does an adequate job of telling a story, but its short play time and frustrating controls makes for a tough suggestion to buy on the Switch, at least at full price.

 

THREE STARS OUT OF FIVE

Highlights: fabulous art style, funny story
Lowlights: frustrating controls, short playtime
Developer: XGen Studios
Publisher: XGen Studios
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC

Review conducted on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.

Angelina Pasusuwan

Angie is biomedical science graduate spending most of their time as a casual gamer, bookworm, quidditch player, and collector of hobbies.