Review: Rez Plz
Have you ever wanted to kill your sibling? Personally, I’m an only child so I’ve never experienced this feeling. But, I have two daughters and often see them squabbling over the most ridiculous things. So as much as they love each other, I’m sure they sometimes have the urge to smash each other’s faces in!
Thankfully, due to the release of excellent puzzle platform game Rez Plz, I now have the chance to kill my (virtual) brother, in fun and exciting ways!
You take control of apprentice wizards Arcan and Zeph. They are late for magic class as they spent the previous night on the tiles, and now have massive hangovers. Their teacher asks them to do a dangerous spell, which accidentally results in one of the brothers being blown up! Luckily Arcan and Zeph learn they can resurrect each other, as long as they have enough resurrection stones. Just as they discover this, their home is attacked, and they are thrown into a pit. Can our hapless heroes learn to work together to escape their predicament and conquer the baddies?
The first thing to hit me about Rez Plz is the graphical presentation. Everything is set out in a 16-bit pixel style which really appeals to me. The animation of the characters, in particular the over the top deaths are excellent, and tickles the nostalgic part of my brain which fondly remembers playing on my Super Nintendo and Sega Megadrive.
Rez Plz can be played with one or two players. As the game requires you to take control of two characters, I thought playing in single player would hamper my progress. Thankfully this isn’t the case, and you can switch between Arcan and Zeph with the touch of a button.
Each level is set out with numerous dangers and obstacles to overcome. This includes jumping over lava, hitting a fire spewing goat, or finding a switch to open a gate. The controls are very good, which is essential for any platform game. Running, jumping, wall jumping, clinging to walls, swinging from ropes, all felt intuitive and easy to master. You can also use your brother to provide a leg up to reach higher platforms, which would normally be inaccessible.
Navigating your way through the early levels is relatively straight forward, but the real hook of the game is using your brother’s corpse when the time comes. For example, if there is a large expanse of lava you can’t jump across, then why not throw your brother in, and then jump on his burning body to get safely across?! Or, you need to climb a wall filled with spikes, so why not throw your brother onto the spikes, and then bounce off his impaled body!
The game would be over very quickly if you only had one life, but luckily for Arcan and Zeph they have a set of resurrection stones which can be used to bring each other back from the dead. The big problem is they only have three resurrection stones each, and once they are gone its game over. Thankfully you can find more stones on your travels.
The puzzles themselves can be fiendishly difficult, but once you figure out how to beat them (which usually involves killing your brother), you feel like punching the air!
Rez Plz is generally excellent, but I do have a couple of minor negative points. Even though the controls are very precise, there is an occasional hitch with the framerate which sometimes causes accidental deaths. This can be annoying, but thankfully doesn’t happen very often. I was playing on a Nintendo Switch, so I’m not sure if this is the case on PC or Xbox One. Hopefully a patch can rectify this in the future.
Another minor criticism is the music which plays throughout the levels. Whilst it isn’t bad, there isn’t much variation, so it can feel a bit repetitive. Maybe my expectation of the music was high due to the presentation and style being similar to a couple of my favourite games, Shovel Knight and Rogue Legacy? Because Shovel Knight has such amazing music, I expected Rez Plz to be of the same standard. Clearly, it’s not easy to produce incredible soundtracks, so I can’t criticise it too much.
So, the big question for me is, can Rez Plz stand apart from Shovel Knight and Rogue Legacy? The highest compliment I can give the game is, yes it does. The central gameplay mechanic is fun, the humour is good natured (even though you are killing your own brother), and despite a couple of niggles, it’s enjoyable to play. Well worth a look, especially if you fancy twatting your virtual brother into a flaming pit!
Rez Plz is available now for Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox One.
Review by Chris from a Switch code kindly supplied by VIM Global.