Dude, Stop is a bit of a difficult game to review – not only because it’s full to the brim with zany little puzzles that require players to quite literally be as much of a pain in the arse as possible, but also because detailing what exactly you get up to would spoil the experience a little bit.
A good way to describe the game would be as a combination of WarioWare and being a bit of a dick, which I imagine sounds like the sort of thing that a LOT of gamers would be interested in playing. It really does make for a fun experience too, with Dude, Stop certainly standing out as one of the more quirky and inventive titles available on the Nintendo Switch.
Dude, Stop is a puzzler that sees you working through a series of logic-based puzzles that have been crafted by a developer – a developer who just so happened to have put a lot of time and effort into making them and thus wants them to be tackled in as effective a manner as possible. Sounds an easy task, right? Well, it would be, if you didn’t go out of your way to try and ruin each puzzle and solve them in an illogical and broken way, much to the developer’s ire.
That’s literally all you’ll do throughout the entirety of Dude, Stop, with the whole game based around you solving puzzles in a manner of different ways. Of course, you could always follow the logical and intended path when solving these puzzles, but where’s the fun in that? You progress through the game no matter if you do it the correct or incorrect way and you’ll get plenty of laughs along the way as you work through them. In fairness, the puzzles are all short and simple but cleverly designed, so solving them (or doing the opposite) always feels satisfying.
Whilst the puzzles are the focus of Dude, Stop, the narrating developer deserves a big shout out too. Not only is he a well-written character that just so happens to brilliantly voiced, but his ever-changing personality that shifts depending on how you’re handling his puzzles actually kept me laughing throughout. His frustration with my each and every failure felt believable in-game, and it really felt like I had this developer watching my every action and slowly having a breakdown as I ruin all of his carefully crafted enigmas. It’s a whole lot of fun and shows just how creative of an experience Dude, Stop really is.
It shouldn’t take gamers more than an hour or so to get through Dude, Stop, so it’s certainly not a long game. It’s a little lacking in replay value too, even with the puzzles offering multiple solutions – they’re so simple in design that there’s never really any incentive to tackle them in a different way the second time around… well… other than to hear the narrator react a bit differently. With that in mind, the £12.99 price tag of the game can feel a little hefty, especially when you consider how simplistic the gameplay experience is. Sure, it’s fun to play through, but with a lack of replayability on offer, some players may find themselves wishing that the game offered a bit more bang for their buck.
The best way to play Dude, Stop is on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode with headphones in, with the touch controls offering the most flexible and accessible way to handle the majority of the game’s puzzles. The game itself actually doesn’t lend itself all that well to the big screen, which is something which could be attributed to the visuals which are incredibly simple in design and look better when seen handheld – that’s not to say that it isn’t a viable way to enjoy the game though, so players can stick to what they prefer.
Dude, Stop’s anti-puzzling makes for a pretty enjoyable endeavour, with the player’s war against the developer’s puzzle designs offering plenty of laughs throughout. It’s just a shame that the game doesn’t last all that long, with the short run-time and lack of replayability making the £12.99 price tag feel a little bit hefty.
It’s certainly a unique experience though and those who enjoy playing games that are a little bit *different* will certainly have some fun, especially when they continue to infuriate the brilliantly voiced yet highly unstable developer along the way.
Developer: Team Halfbeard
Publisher: Team Halfbeard
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC