This game constantly surprised me. Like most of the eshop games I review here on gintendo, I’d never heard of it until Chris gave me the review code out of the blue. I had no idea what to expect; a 2D side-scroller, a match-three puzzler, spot the difference?
I was surprised as soon as I turned it on and saw the high production values; slick comicbook cutscenes with voice acting and decent music. I was even more surprised when I pressed start and found myself in a fast-paced and playable first-person shooter.
This isn’t a masterpiece, even within the shooting genre. It controls a little floatily, though making convenient use of the Switch’s motion controls for aim assist, and the combat is simplistic without so much as headshot bonus.
Instead, it sets it sights on a goal which is no less noble: good old-fashioned fun of the kind I hadn’t seen since the gamecube era. Clean, colourful visuals, outrageous weapons, cartoonish enemies and a constant stream of action.
The story, if you want to call it that, is incredibly silly. A caricature of a redneck goes on holiday to Egypt and finds himself dead, cursed to live as a mummy and fight through floors and floors of enemies in the great pyramids.
I was surprised again the first time I died and returned to the oasis outside the pyramids to see the upgrade tree and items. That was when I realised this game had a light rogue-like structure, the pyramids resetting after each death but with new skills, items and eventually whole pyramids permanently unlocked.
I was surprised when I got one of the unlocks and discovered they were, for all intents and purposes, extra characters with completely different weapons and loadouts. Some worked better for me than others, but that’s to the game’s credit. There are huge differences between hefty meatcakes with miniguns and temporary invisibility and nippy sword-wielding lightning ninjas.
The majority of the experience is spent away from all the menus and complexity. You look down the barrel of a gun at mummies, ghosts, frogs and rams. You shoot them and they explode into coins and gems to be spent later on more and better gear, to kill more and more colourful monsters.
The enemy designs have huge amounts of goofy charm. Of course there are scarabs scurrying along the floor and Anubis-looking fellas throwing spears. There are also bouncing sarcophagi that spit out smaller mummies, crocodiles and beasties, and armoured chaps who remind me of ghost Pokemon. Spindly snipers dangle from the ceilings and chunky beefcakes lumber around with explosives.
The guns are inventive too. Of course there are classic pistols, shotguns and machine guns, but even these have charming designs that mix homemade charm and magic. Elsewhere, things get weirder with electric swords and exploding potato launchers. For the most part, character loadouts choose the weapons but these can sometimes be swapped for random drops mid-level.
The level design isn't completely procedural; rooms are well designed combat puzzles, but are presented in random configurations. Visually the rooms never deviate too far from the "pyramid interior" aesthetic, but there is plenty of variety within that model. Statues and ornate decorations, fire and lava, green poison and spike pits all mix it up. Sometimes it's shiny and new, other times crumbling and filling with sand.
The music is a real highlight. As the tension picks up, it sounds much like any action movie or shooting game after The Matrix. Elsewhere, though, atmosphere is provided through a charming and weird melding of plucky Deliverance banjos and typical Ancient Egyptian Eastern Mysticism.
There are laughs to be had here, and thrills too. I can honestly say this is worth picking up if you have thumbs and trigger fingers itching to shoot baddies on your Switch and you’ve already exhausted DOOM. And when I get sent a game to review for this site, that really is a surprise.
By Luke Summerhayes.