Thursday, April 4, 2024

Demo Play Thursday - Pepper Grinder On Switch

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the Nintendo Switch version of Pepper Grinder, developed by Ahr Ech and published by Devolver Digital.

This game had gotten some positive attention and i had heard many people talking about it on podcasts i listen to. So i came into this quite positive and it makes a great first impression with big music and an evocative image of a skull and a drill. But as i played this demo, the first impressions that this game gives didn't really match with the gameplay. In the video i call it lo-fi beats to play games to, whereas the music at the intro screen is anything but lo-fi.

There's no doubting the visuals of this game. throughout it looks amazing with not only high quality pixel art but also high quality animations. the life in the world is moving and there's energy to it. And yet, the music feels much slower. this is in contrast to the drill we use as that can drag us quite quickly, but the levels that we played in this demo seemed built around a slower pace. Even tho this demo is 3 levels, this mix was confusing and noticeable playing it.

For me, the overwhelming feeling i got from this demo was that the game's quite shallow. the gameplay didn't match the visuals, the level design didn't match the controls, and who knows what we're actually doing and why 'cause there's no story whatsoever. each level is packed with many new ideas on how to use the drill that it feels like the game's being front loaded, leaving me feeling overwhelmed trying to use a drill that controls however it feels in all new scenarios and wondering if by the end are the levels going to be too packed with everything the devs thought of or just repetitive and boring as it's all be shown so far.

In this demo, and i imagine the game too, i wanted shorter levels that dealt with each new mechanic one or two at a time. so i could get used to how the drill controls, so i could get used to the level design, or simply so the game could've spent a little time on story and tutorial. As it is, i came away from this demo frustrated and i didn't enjoy my time with it. Oh, this demo ends very abruptly, so much so that i called it out for being rude.

It's not a great demo, to the point where i wonder if it's actually negative to the game, whether its a fair representation of said game or not. Pepper Grinder isn't for me and not only do i not recommend the demo but i don't really recommend the game either.