I’m not mask, just disappointed
Masky is back; originally on iOS, Android, and Steam, IGJAM16’s Best Mobile Game at Gamescom16 has joined the ranks of indie games on the Nintendo Switch. As I continue to struggle for more words in an opening paragraph for this little title, I’ll cut right to the chase — despite the perfect execution of its simple mechanic and the interesting art style, the Nintendo version is overpriced, you’re likely to suffer from joycon drift, and the game itself is incredibly predictable.
When booting up Masky for the first time, I had no preconceived notions about the game. I had heard rumor it was a rhythm game, but it was immediately evident that it’s essentially a glorified balance beam. The goal is to add as many masked dancers as possible, one at a time, by linking hands in a long line. By moving the joystick right or left, players must ensure that the middle character and all the dancers they’ve picked up along the way don’t fall over. There are four different dancer types to pick up, each with their own pull ability/weight, who will affect your line’s balance. Adding dancers without strategy will certainly end in failure, so be sure to balance out each side as equally as possible.
Some masked dancers in Masky will have special abilities that make things more difficult, such as speeding up the dancing, lighting up the area, or tilting the screen. These effects will go away the instant you pick up another dancer, so it’s imperative to pick one up as soon as possible to return things to normal. Eventually, you’ll come across doors which will change up the levels in Masky; for the most part, all the levels pretty much look the same, their colors will be the only thing that immediately indicates a level change. Keep adding dancers, keep going through doors, and keep dancing until you drop — literally.
At first, I played this on handheld mode on my Switch, but the joycon drift was impacting my ability to get very far. After switching to play on my TV with a controller, I found the experience to be much smoother and able to last a lot longer. If you do decide to purchase Masky for the Nintendo Switch, I highly recommend playing it with a controller if you suffer from joycon drift.
I’ll be honest — although the simple mechanic is perfectly executed and admittedly it’s easy to lose yourself playing, everything you need to experience in this game you can do so within the first 10 minutes. This feels less like a complete game and more like a mini-game featured in Mario Party. On mobile and Steam, this isn’t a big deal at all, as Masky is free-to-play and $.99, respectively; however, on the Nintendo Switch, it’s priced at $4.99, which is far too high for what you get. I don’t think Masky is bad per se, but to know that I can play it on my iPhone for free means I wouldn’t pay a cent for it on my Switch — in fact, the iOS port is arguably better, so consider getting it elsewhere even if it wasn’t five times more expensive on console.
I don’t deny the hard work that the developers put into porting Masky to the Nintendo Switch; however, I can’t understand why its current pricepoint is five times more expensive than the Steam version. Had it been cheaper — even $2.99 — I would think of the Switch version of Masky much more positively, but for a game that will likely be played for less than an hour and then retired forever, it really shouldn’t cost so much. If you have any interest whatsoever in an insanely easy pick-up-and-play game, Masky satisfies, although I recommend getting it for mobile — for free — instead.
Final Verdict: 3/5
Available on: PC, Mobile, Switch (reviewed); Publisher: Digital Melody Games; Developer: Digital Melody Games; Players: 1-4; Released: June 11, 2020; MSRP: $4.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Masky given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher