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The classic jump-y puzzle games of the internet’s hay-day that you would boot up in the middle of class when your teacher wasn’t looking are a nostalgic treasure that many of us keep neatly tucked away in our noggins. Rarely do you see this older formula brought to life with spick and span polish, rather serving as cheap shadows barely grasping even a slither of the charm these old gaming experiences brought to the table. Deleveled isn’t that. Deleveled is classic, side-scroller, simple-artwork puzzle fun in all its glory, with crisp visuals, responsive controls, an intuitive, easy-to-navigate UX and an upbeat, 8-bit score that compliments the ride gloriously. 

Good

From the get-go, it is clear what you’re in for and that’s a charmingly simplistic yet engaging romp. The first level introduces you to the meat of the experience which is getting both the bottom and top squares to reach their respective exits simultaneously. That’s the shtick of the game – controls interact with two blocks that have different gravitational pulls, but the difficulty and challenge comes from the rapidly ramping up of the complexity, with keys that need to be activated in order to unlock the gates and obstacles that clash, causing you to have to propel the other cube by falling onto the same line, bouncing the other in their own opposite direction. Doing this lets you reach ledges, jump over spike-y death traps and clear gaps. It’s a nifty means of taking the classic platformer structure and putting a fresh spin on it to make it stand out.

What’s truly captivating is how utterly simple the visuals are, with the environment being made up of simplistic lines whilst the backgrounds vary in colour, shapes and lighting. Truly, the entire point of Deleveled is gameplay which shines through to the surface spectacularly because, whilst abstract and simplistic, there’s an impressive amount of polish from the transitions between levels to the little effects that spurt out when your squares interact with one another. Effects and transitions are one thing, but sound design also does a lot of the heavy lifting, with bouncy and energetic design and harsh clashes that indicate death or failure. 

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One of the big perks is the ability to unlock bonus levels, with even the first chapter sporting a secret level indicated by a question mark and a rewarded unlockable level that requires the nabbing of ten stars. Stars are acquired by completing levels in a certain number of tries, so there’s plenty of incentive to aim for perfection since it’ll net more content. Given that many of the genre’s cohorts stumble in incentivisation for progression, this is a well and true sight for sore eyes.

Bad

There’s not much to falter in Deleveled’s charming call back to the days of simple but engaging platforming, other than perhaps the repetitiveness of the game’s design in that the puzzles feel very same-y given the premise remaining the same throughout. You have to get both cubes to the same exit and so, whilst there’s incentives to go for the best score and find secrets for more content, each level boiling down to the same shtick can get a little monotonous. 

Final Score: 79%

As far as short bursts of serotonin go in the form of sparkly gaming gems, Deleveled hits the spot. From its pumped-up personality-rich score to its vibrant and abstract aesthetic, every moment spent in the shape-y abyss of puzzle-platforming is well spent.  

Thank you for checking out our Deleveled Switch Review (Quick), thank you to The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:

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Posted by James Troughton

James is a writer from England who also works for TheGamer and CBR