It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch has had a lot of success, especially off of the back of its juggernaut first-party titles like Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. It’s a slightly lesser-known fact though, that the eShop – the Switch’s digital storefront – is home to over 1000 games, including a huge number of excellent, digital-only titles. Unfortunately, among that number is also a plethora of cheap, mobile game ports hoping to cash in on the console’s popularity.
Yuri is one of those games.
I might need to expand on that last point; Yuri is not a bad game. It’s quite basic, but there’s a lot to like in the sumptuous, serene and other-worldly presentation that brothers Ange and Aurélien Poitier spent six long years bringing to life. The bold, hand drawn art comes together with some pretty accomplished sound design and a gorgeous soundtrack to really draw you into the game’s offbeat world – in which a man named Yuri rides his bed-on-wheels through a series of abstract landscapes. As a mobile game that sells for $2.99 USD I’d say it’s a nice, chill little time waster. As a game for the Switch that’s asking for $13.99 USD though, it just doesn’t measure up to its peers.
My biggest gripe with Yuri is that, despite its cool, calm appearance it can be incredibly frustrating. Yuri’s skateboard-esque bedmobile is a slippery, wonky beast that is wholly unfit for precise platforming: yet precise platforming is often what the game calls for. The long levels are checkpointed generously enough, for the most part, but there were still times that I’d be forced to replay particularly annoying sections more times than I’d have liked. I don’t know how people dealt with this on mobile where the issues would be compounded by having to use on-screen buttons, but maybe that crowd is just used to shit controls. In a different game, the fast-and-loose platforming might have elicited a more appropriate response, but the game’s otherwise chill demeanor just feels at odds.
There are also collectibles in the game in the form of fireflies, which both serve no purpose and further break the flow of the game by being placed in awkward formations that don’t gel with the level lines. It’s really hard to criticise a game that’s clearly a labour of love, but the developer’s talents definitely lie more in creating wonderful art than exhibiting good game design.
Yuri is a lovely game at times, and the moments where the level design takes you zipping through lush environments against a backdrop of beautiful sounds are exhilarating. But you know that annoying thing in platformers where you attempt to jump onto a platform, and you make it, but then your character lurches forward post-landing and you wind up falling off the other side? Yuri is that by design.
For your money you do get a handful more levels than the original release but honestly, if this game looks like something you’d be interested in and you have an iOS device, take my advice and get it on that.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch // Review code supplied by publisher