Metroidvania-style adventures are a dime a dozen on the Nintendo Switch these days, with new releases seemingly hitting the eShop every week. It means that they’ve typically got to do something a bit *special* to stand out, especially since titles such as Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, and Axiom Verge offer alternative escapades of such a high standard.
It’s interesting then that I enjoyed MindSeize so much. This isn’t a Metroidvania-style game that does anything particularly special by any stretch of the imagination, but everything it does do it does competently. Add to that quirky sci-fi narrative and it’s clear that it deserves the attention of fans of the genre, even IF it doesn’t do anything that they wouldn’t have seen before.
MindSeize’s narrative is actually a bit of a kooky sci-fi tale, with the player taking on the role of M.C. Fox as he battles against a criminal organization known only as ‘The Ascended’. Why does he want to take them down? Well, not only did the leader of the group leave him paralyzed, but they also seized the mind of his daughter. You read that right: they seized her mind.
It’s a wacky concept but one that I was totally on board with throughout the game. Look, MindSeize isn’t going to win any awards for its narrative, but it managed to feel pretty unique and offers the sort of plotline you’d see in a game or movie from the late 80s… it’s just fun.
So how can good old M.C. Fox battle against ‘The Ascended’ if he has been paralyzed, I hear you ask? Well, he can connect his consciousness into a robot known as MAG, that comes with all of the tricks needed to fit into a Metroidvania-style adventure perfectly. It can run and jump its way around the platforming-fuelled areas, it can slice out at enemies to blast them to pieces, shoot out an assortment of ranged attacks, and even be continually upgraded to unlock new weapons and abilities to help you progress further – it fits in with the genre perfectly, with certain areas inaccessible until you have the right functions to do so. You’ll be able to perform the likes of wall jumps and impressive slides by the time you reach the back end of the game, whilst boosting your way around with neat thrusters NEVER stopped feeling cool in-game.
With MindSeize being a Metroidvania-style game, there’s plenty of exploration to dive into as you explore each of the game’s four planets. Each is made up of an abundance of rooms that you’ll access from different directions, with a mini-map keeping track of where you’ve visited and helping give an indicator of where you might need to go to next. The platforming of the game is tightly designed so it always feel satisfying to get around, whilst the weaponry at your disposal makes taking down enemies feel fun too. You do have to do a fair bit of backtracking, especially when you unlock new abilities, but that’s something we’re used to in the genre so it can’t be held against MindSeize too much.
It’s worth noting that enemies will continually respawn though, so you’ll never feel too safe when you wipe them out. To the game’s credit, there are a wide variety of foes to face off against too, with all sorts of different attacks coming your way as you traverse even the most basic of hallways. It ensures there’s a decent challenge to be found in MindSeize, with plenty of standard enemies catching me off guard on more than a few occasions during my playthrough. Checkpoints are never too far away so this never felt too frustrating, even if a few deaths could feel a little unfair given the amount of enemies that the game will send your way in some of the more confined areas.
At least the boss battles are always fair in design, with each offering impressively hulking enemies to face off against that, whilst formulaic, are always fun to take down. They typically require one of the abilities you’ve recently earned to vanquish too, which adds an extra element of experimentation to the mix as opposed to simply learning and exploiting their attack patterns. They make for entertaining encounters and stood out as one of my personal highlights across the whole game.
MindSeize is a fun game to play, but it does come with one flaw: it offers nothing that you wouldn’t have seen before (and often done better) in other Metroidvania-style titles. Don’t get me wrong, everything from the platforming to the combat to world-design is undoubtedly well-designed here, but there was never a moment where I thought, “I haven’t seen that before” or that I felt especially blown away. It probably doesn’t help that some of its peers in the genre actually do things better too, with titles such as Hollow Knight and Dead Cells trumping most elements of MindSeize’s design.
Is it a problem? Not at all and it doesn’t stop MindSeize from being enjoyable in its own right. Sometimes, games don’t have to innovate – they just have to be fun. Fortunately, that’s something that MindSeize definitely gets right across it’s roughly ten-to-twelve adventure.
MindSeize isn’t a title that’s going to blow Metroidvania-loving gamers away, but it still offers an enjoyable adventure with a quirky sci-fi tale. Between all of the neat exploration mechanics, the frantic enemy slaying, and the well-desgined boss encounters, there really is plenty to enjoy across the game – even IF it doesn’t offer anything you wouldn’t have seen before.
Developer: Kamina Dimension
Publisher: First Press Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC