There’s a corner of the Switch market which appears to be filling up considerably with games that have seen a small amount of success in the mobile market and as such, has seen it right to fill up the eShop with its strange brand of ‘not quite a console game but big enough on mobile to be worth a shot’ products. Solar Flux is a game that very much belongs on a mobile device, but the Switch? The Switch is not the device this game belongs on.
Why am I so confident on this? Well it’s quite simple really, the entire game is played via the system’s touchscreen, meaning you can’t play it docked or with the Joy-Cons. Instead, you have to use your giant hands to direct a very small spaceship across a background that you could probably find in Windows 95 stock wallpaper selections. Essentially you’ll spend an awful lot of your time covering the screen with your fingers, which is about as frustrating as it sounds. There’s a minimal puzzle game hidden away below your fingertips, it’s just difficult to um, see it.
You use your fingers to engage the thrusters on a small ship, sent out into the vast space (or just a little bit near the sun) to collect plasma which is then shot back into the sun with a touch of the screen.
With touch the benefits are you get to control the trajectory of your ship with precision, the strange aspect of the game that you may find yourself battling against though is that the mechanics encourage you not to do this. You’ll run out of fuel *very* quickly if you thrust all about the place (though if you can get back to your station before exploding you can refuel). Your overall score for each level will lower depending on how much fuel you use so you’ll need to work out how to get around without consuming your allowances. You can use the gravitational pull of nearby planets to collect plasma before shooting it into the sun and thus completing the level. If you can work out a way around the level using as little fuel as possible you’ll get the maximum three star score.
You’ve got to keep your head though as though your ship is moving obnoxiously slowly you’ll have to navigate it around asteroids and planets and away from the rays of the sun so you don’t explode (again, your shield can reload if you find cover FROM THE SUN). There’s no real sense of reward when completing a level, it just kind of happens. Much like the majority of Solar Flux, getting three stars felt like a remarkably hollow victory.
Physics based games are never my strong point, but I always like to give them a go to see if there’s one that will break the cycle for me and allow me to get better at them. Unfortunately Solar Flux offers very little in terms of complexity or excitement. Once I beat the game for review purposes I never went back to it, and there’s just too much available right now on Switch to really consider why I would want too.
Solar Flux is available now on Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Mobile and Steam
Developer: Firebrand Games
Publisher: Firebrand Games
Disclaimer; In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.