Can you hear that sound? Can you feel the beat? In 140 by Carlsen Games, feeling the music and listening for patterns is fundamental to being successful in this rhythmic puzzle platformer. 140 was originally released way back in 2013 and has received awards for its design and gameplay approach, but does 140 have what it takes to make as colorful of a splash on the Nintendo Switch? Our 140 Switch Review knows all!
If you haven’t heard of Carlsen Games before or played 140 or THOTH, then you really can’t go wrong with taking a jaunt into the colorful world of 140. In essence, 140 is a platformer that revolves around the players little square, and the various rhythmic based challenges set before you to pass to the next level tier. There really isn’t much to the controls, with only a jump button and the thumbstick required to move about, but the simplicity only outlines the variety of exceptional design decisions Carlsen Games made when constructing each level.
The first stage seems simple enough, with very mild puzzles outlining the basics of your objectives. You bounce about, finding and picking up a ball which acts as a key to open a door to the next level. Along the way, players will encounter checkpoints before a, particularly tough platforming encounter. At the end of each stage, there is a boss encounter that will test both your rhythm and twitch reflexes. Each level, as one can expect, gets tougher to the point where I found myself questioning whether parts of the level could even be done.
Most of the puzzles revolve around a beat and timing. Counting out the beat aided my quest in most cases, but there were times where you had to keep time with multiple obstacles which are almost impossible to do numerically. Getting inside a rhythmic groove certainly helps, until you reach some bosses where quick actions are even more important than listening to the beat. One example is a crazy kaleidoscopic square that fires triangles at you. The only way to counter the attack is to find which triangle was pointed towards you and fire a shot to deflect it. As easy as that sounds, it gets remarkably frustrating when you can’t simply face your cursor in the direction of the triangle, but you have to count out a beat and place it one or two positions prior to where you wish to fire your deflection shot.
These kinds of interesting, tempo-based challenges can feel over the top at times but are equally rewarding when you finally complete one. 140 is calculatingly smart, exceedingly challenging, and an all-around musical marvel. Carlsen Games knows how to do so much with a smattering of sounds and shapes. The Switch version of 140 doesn’t enhance or change the way 140 is played at all. The game itself can be beaten in under 2 hours, with plenty of mistakes made along the way, but for gamers looking for a challenging platformer with rhythmic properties, there are very few games that can compare to 140 in that department.