Carlsen Games knows a thing or two about creating pixelated, geometrical games. After the success of their rhythmic title 140, Carlsen has put together a short yet challenging twin-stick shooter with the release of THOTH. THOTH is more than just a simplistic shooter, but will the mayhem of this puzzle-like fire fest satisfy your need for a challenge? Our THOTH review has the answer.
In THOTH you really only have three options. You can move, you can shoot, and you can move while shooting. Those are the basics of gameplay, with the only caveat being, moving while firing slows you down significantly, but otherwise, the entirety of combat is extremely simplistic. Everything else that encompasses your time in THOTH revolves around how you perceive and handle each new stage. Most players, especially those that have played twin-stick shooters before, shouldn’t have any issues getting acquainted with the actual gameplay. Where the real challenge comes in, is the introduction of new challenges related to the behavior of different shapes as you progress.
New shapes and behaviors are introduced roughly every 4 levels or so. You also only meet a checkpoint every 4 levels as well. Most players should be prepared to lose a number of times as they learn how to handle each new difficulty tier. Sometimes, you never quite know what a new shape will do, until you attack it. Sometimes, it isn’t even the shape that you defeat that gets triggered, and many times you’ll have to plan a strategy well in advance in order to pass the level. For each level that isn’t a checkpoint, you only have 2 chances to beat it before you automatically restart back at your last checkpoint. Take note that this also happens if you attempt to pause the game with the plus button on your Switch controller.
Most levels, between start and finish, take less than a minute to pass. Once you learn what each shape does, planning a strategy doesn’t take long with only a few levels pushing the boundaries of excruciating difficulty. In the event you do die on a level, it’s important to remember that, THOTH pulls no punches. It gets more difficult the second time you attempt a level, not easier. The walls become dangerous, which is severely detrimental on levels were strafing the edge of the wall could be the difference between passing on to the next stage, or starting over at the last checkpoint, yet once again.
There were times I stopped playing temporarily, put down my switch, or just flat out stated, “I hate this,” as my tiny white ball was blasted to pieces by an angry angular adversary. Still, minutes later, I picked my switch up again, restarted at the last checkpoint, and found a way through the challenges eventually. THOTH also allows for local multiplayer, giving both you and a friend the ability to team up and take on each stage together. For the truly skilled, THOTH may take less than an hour of your day to beat, with an added bonus set of stages that become available once you’ve completed it the first time. If you fancy yourself a twin-stick master, THOTH will definitely give those thumbs a workout.