Over the years, WayForward have definitely provided some top-tier entertainment to Nintendo platforms. From Shantae to even licensed fare, this developer has built a trust with audiences that if their logo is present, you can validated as quality will at least be on your side. Vitamin Connection is the latest from the veteran studio, and brings some fresh utilization of the platform’s motion controls. Does this title hold true, or is it a bit shaky on its feet. Let’s find out.
The story in Vitamin Connection is short and sweet. You play as Vita-Boy and Mina-Girl, who as medicine, must heal different characters by traversing through their insides and solving little navigation puzzles along the way. There isn’t a lot of depth as a whole here, but WayForward managed to give the game a huge personality through the little dialogue sequences and charming characters found throughout the game. Without the effort, I personally feel like the game would be more of a WarioWare inspired romp (which is still not bad, mind you), but instead – there is definitely a lot of charm packed in here.
I mentioned WarioWare for a reason when it comes to describing Vitamin Connection. At times, the player will be put on rails and must simply rotate controls as they blast diseased entities that come into their path. Other times, you will have to navigate points precisely without error to progress forward. If you like Schmups you will also be in luck, as there is a lot of that here as well. The Joycons play a pivotal role here, and due to solid formatting, players will able to control this rapidly changing environment with ease.
Be it single or multiplayer, the experience does not really change too much as a whole. The feel of the game becomes much more intense during multiplayer however, as the one pill vehicle has to be controlled by both players in order to progress. While one player focuses on general movement and the beam within, the other will have to flip and maneuver the cart quickly to avoid crashing. Players can pick up HP to prevent certain death, and obtain power-ups that prove useful during these micro-journeys, such as a long arm that can assist in certain situations. Precision is the name of the game and if one doesn’t focus on timing and movement, they will be sure to crash often.
Multiplayer honestly reminds me a lot of Mario Party. Myself and a friend spent a good time in intense back and forth sessions screaming “QUICK GO LEFT!”,“SHOOT THEM!” or “GRAB THAT!”, challenging our friendship while having a pretty good time overall. Single player is a bit tamer, but the player has full accountability for their own actions. There are a good amount of obstacles that come quickly, and the excitement of the way variety affects you the first time through displays some exceptional pacing. I do feel like a docked Switch would be the ideal way to play due to the space needed for motion-based Joycon control, but we did manage to get some portable play in with just the stand. This is a good travel title that is easy to hop in and out of, which is a huge plus.
That said, I do think the game could benefit from a little more substance overall. Bonus modes with more variety, or maybe broken down challenge fare could add a lot to this experience. It would be interesting to see more in terms of that added, as retreading the game feels a bit repetitive. Still, the package here is still a whole one and most will get a lot from the content within. Even though it has a lot of character, it could also use a little more to define it from other titles that have passed through before. A lot of indie games come out and pull on the same cords Vitamin Connection does to show off what they can offer. This game I feel does it better but doesn’t seem to sell itself enough to feel distinct, so maybe a bit more emphasis on those little mascots could make this title feel more realized if there ever would be a follow-up or sequel.
The art style is bright, pleasant, and charming. With this simplistic yet colorful visual design, players have a lot of delight on display here. That of course is not a foreign thing for WayForward, but alas, something fans of their already savory titles should be happy to see. The level design can seem a bit plain from afar, but you are more than likely not notice the lack of detail for all of the intensity occurring at the forefront of the experience.
The music within Vitamin Connection is awesome. There is a full buffet of tunes to feast on here, ranging from J-pop to hip-hop and a little bit of funk in-between. Again, this is no surprise considering, but for being such an off-beat little title – my own expectations for the content within were surpassed by the soundtrack alone as this could have easily went to a bigger experience. The audio definitely gives this game its own specific atmosphere and feel that keep it relevant in my mind, hours after playing.
Vitamin Connection is a great release that offers a unique and gratifying multiplayer experience on the Switch. Could there be more, well – yes. For what it does it does well and with such an amazing soundtrack in tow with the personality provided, players are in for a mesmerizing little experience from a studio who continue to deliver quality to consoles. If you are looking for a fun Switch title to jam out to, sit down and pop this pill.