Review – Afterpulse (Switch)
The Switch’s library is very lacking when it comes to military shooters. Although, that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t want developers to either port some classics, such as older Battlefield games, or for smaller teams to come up with some interesting ideas to fill this void. Afterpulse is here in an attempt to satiate this need, being a port of a (supposedly) popular mobile game. Sadly, not a good one.
It’s hard to come up with an interesting introductory description for a game like Afterpulse. Have you ever played any of the countless multiplayer shooters available on the iOS App Store? It doesn’t matter if it’s a third-person game or a first-person shooter. It doesn’t matter if it’s Modern Combat or PUBG. You’ve seen and played tons of games like Afterpulse before. Sadly, this just feels like yet another generic shooter that brings nothing new to the table, completely devoid of artistic vision or substance.
Being a straight port of a mobile game aimed at an even inferior hardware than the one that powers the Switch, don’t expect for Afterpulse to impress you with its visuals or sound effects. It looks like a mid-range PlayStation Vita game at the very best, with even the critically panned Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified looking more impressive in comparison. When in portable mode, the combination of a small screen and a surprisingly competent framerate might make Afterpulse look borderline acceptable, but don’t you dare play it on a big screen. It’s just plain ugly, with poor textures and lighting effects all around.
As far as the gameplay goes, this is your standard third-person online shooter. It offers absolutely nothing for offline players besides the most bare-bones training scenario I have ever seen. Granted, it does have a fair share of modes. Plus the fact it supports crossplay means that you’ll always be able to get into a game even if this ends up becoming a flop on the eShop. That is something I have to commend the developers for: it took me just a few seconds to get into a match and absolutely mow everybody down in my first online round ever. And no, it’s not because I’m some kind of competitive shooter god. I have to put the blame on the Switch version’s controls.
Even though Afterpulse features your run-of-the-mill controls for a third-person shooter, it also features the single most broken and unfair aim assist system I have ever seen in my life. In this game, you do not need a single droplet of talent in order to get a multi-kill in your first match ever. The aim assist is so absurd that merely hovering the right analog stick around will automatically lock you onto the nearest enemy, no matter how far they might be from you. There’s no strategy involved. It doesn’t matter how overpowered your enemy’s loadout is: this nonsensical aim assist will kill anyone in sight with astonishing precision.
This means that you’ll level up pretty quickly, unlocking a ton of new weapons and cosmetics as a result. However, I cannot say I enjoyed Afterpulse‘s progression system. In fact, the lack of a narrative, or even a mere paragraph explaining why we’re shooting each other made the game impossible to connect with. I saw no reason to keep unlocking new equipment due to the uninteresting setting and the fact the aim assist was basically winning matches for me.
Afterpulse is only recommended if you’re a Switch owner in dire, desperate, uncontrollable need of an online military shooter, and you really don’t want to play a game like this in any other platform. Owing to its mobile roots, it might not be the worst game in existence, but it’s so uninspired and generic. It feels like a piece of software completely devoid of artistic integrity. I doubt we’ll ever see a Battlefield or Call of Duty game making an appearance on the Switch, but Afterpulse doesn’t work very well as a substitute for these games either.
It looks borderline acceptable when played in portable mode, but it’s inexcusably dated and dull when played in docked mode. It looks just like its mobile counterpart and that’s not exactly worth praising.
The controls themselves aren’t inherently bad. They’re responsive enough and the framerate is stable. It’s beyond basic, however. The amount of aim assist is so absurdly high that you just need to barely hover the sights over an enemy in order to kill him.
Afterpulse‘s soundtrack is passable, but generic. It’s also heavily compressed. Its sound effects get the job done, but there’s nothing special about them at all.
Fun Factor: 4.0
Afterpulse is only recommended if you’re desperate for some military multiplayer action on your Switch. This game is as generic and uninspired as one can get. It’s not poorly made or downright broken, but it’s just… there…
Final Verdict: 4.5
Afterpulse is available now on Switch and mobile.
Reviewed on Switch.
A copy of Afterpulse was provided by the publisher.