Paul Collett and Binaries is a combination you shouldn’t miss. The FingerGuns Review;
I didn’t know much about Binaries before kindly receiving this review code. I’d heard that there are two balls and two goals but that’s about it. Coming to the Switch I assumed it would be some detached JoyCon 2 player type fun. Oh, how wrong I was.
Nope in Binaries, you control both balls at the same time. The same FUCKING time. And so ensues a relentless slog of frustration, teeth crunching unbearability and the most insatiable one more go thirst. Binaries will either make you or kill you.
So as mentioned you control two balls (snigger), an orange ball and a blue ball with the aim of getting each ball into their respective colored goals. Sounds kind of simple, but when spikes, turrets and the most frustrating bit, each of the ball’s courses are different from one another then things get a bit fiendish, to say the least.
As an example, a level loads up, you see the blue course and it looks like a fairly straightforward platforming level, then you look at the orange course and again it looks similar to the blue course, simple for anyone who is used to platform type games. Then, you notice that each of the platforms are slightly off, that one course has a row of spikes and one doesn’t. But things get even more brain-bending still. The orange ball can quite happily travel over blue spikes and the blue over orange spikes. It’s too much. TOO MUCH!! And so begins the quest. Dying is part of this game and you have to accept that. The human mind simply cannot compute this level of mind-bending complexity. But it tries. You see often times you’ll be preparing to literally rip the JoyCon’s from the screen, and lobbing them out the nearest window. But then something happens. You stop. You think. ‘I’m a gamer, I can do this shit’. And you have one more go. And another, and another. You will win in the end but it takes every gaming skill you have to get there, and perhaps the brain power from a higher species from the deepest reaches of space would also help.
The good thing about Binaries though is the level design and the branching level tree. For the most part, the level design is spot on and it is human error that makes for the failings in this game. Sure other times developers Ant Workshop expect the near impossible. But it is possible of course, I think. The levels are also dotted with humorous and charming texts to try to calm you down a bit, or maybe wind you up even more with its arrogance. I’m not too sure, but it’s nice to have them either way.
Thanks to the game’s honeycomb level structure, there will always be a level to try so you won’t be totally stuck. Complete one level and several levels will open up around you meaning if one level gives you the fear you can try your hand at another. This at least stops progression block. In theory that is because later on in the game when it gets ridiculous, you’ll need the finger dexterity of a surgeon to get further in the game. Thankfully the levels aren’t all linear, I say thankfully because when they aren’t linear they give me a headache but it does stop the monotony setting in of getting from A to B. But, when some levels are vertical and horizontal, you’ll need a sense of self-punishment to attempt them in the first place.
In fact, the level design is kind of genius when you think about it. No matter how many times you have died, you have to doff your cap to the intricate design.
And I think that sums Binaries up. Its design is genius, I mean I would struggle to design a level for one ball but to design level for two separate balls, that offers a challenge without being impossible is something commendable. The trouble is I’m not sure the human brain is ready for such a challenge. It’s hard to convey just how infuriatingly difficult yet addictive this game is. If you can imagine controlling two super Meat Boys at the same time then you’ll have a good idea what to expect.
The sheer difficulty of this game is both what makes it great and perhaps limits the appeal. controlling two objects at the same time is a very clever idea, and comes with some very clever level design. On the flip side, in order to fulfill this concept, its very nature makes it super hard. Keeping an eye on two things at the same time is just something our humble eyes can’t manage just yet.
Binaries is definitely a nice addition to the ever-bulging collection of indie games appearing on the Switch. If you are up for a challenge then this is defiantly the game for you, expect lots and lots of death and don’t play with anything breakable in the immediate vicinity.
Binaries is now available on Nintendo Switch (reviewed) and PS4
Developer: Ant Workshop
Publisher: Ant Workshop
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we were provided with a review code from the publisher. For our full review policy please go here.