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12 Oct 2022

REVIEW: Pnevmo-Capsula on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
Pnevmo-Capsula finally gets its console release on the 19th of October, after being out on Steam for a year or so.

Set in an alternate utopian atompunk world in what looks like anywhere between the 1930s to the 1960s, you control a small trolley that delivers mail, your job is to traverse a series of rails, tracks and pipes, and ultimately deliver the mail.

Of course, things are not as simple as they might seem, in your way are obstacles to get past, barriers to overcome, dead ends, and maze like structures to find your way through.

The various levels are laid out across interesting backdrops, "caretaker's booth" on a power pole, made of sleepers; "Air platform" with houses at a height; "The artist's hut", fixed directly on the power line, and so on.

Instructions are kept to a minimum, as soon as you start you will only get a quick notice on screen, press A to electrify and press Y to speed up. You move the cart using the joystick, and since the rails go in full 3D directions, you will need to push in the direction you want to go, something that can be a bit tricky when the computer-controlled camera decides to swing around to give you a different view. And the lack of instruction also had me stuck at the absolute first screen, one of the things you will quickly need to learn is the electrify button, this in turn will activate different things, for example, it may lift a platform up, to help you cross an area, it may move a rail on the track so you can go to different heights and areas. It also allows you to interact with the puzzles, and turn lights on or off. Once you figure out how to use that A button, you are quickly on your way.

The game runs in a linear fashion, and the puzzles tend to be based in an observational manner, for example you will need to carefully examine advertising boards and instruction manuals, to figure out the answers, which you will then need to input into a mail machine. There is no hint option, so it is very easy to get stuck which will lead to a huge problem with the game.

When you are playing a puzzle game, and you get stuck, you have two options, give up and stop playing the game, or go online and find a walkthrough.

The game itself is relatively short, a few hours at most. But if you were to get stuck early on, and find a walkthrough, the temptation to go back to that walkthrough every time you get stuck grows and grows, the problem being that you then just complete the game in super quick time, and once completed, there is no real replayability to the game. Since it is a linear game, you will not have missed anything.

I played this at first on a Nintendo Switch Lite, I quickly learned that this game is impossible to play on such a small screen, and I had to play on the large screen instead, the reason is that sometimes the camera is very far away from the trolley, and as such it is virtually impossible to see where it is, throw in the issue with having a very small activation zone for your trolley to be, and you can imagine the problem.

The Good
Beautiful graphics and sound effects really did grab my attention. The puzzles really do need you to have a keen eye for detail.

The Bad
The controls are poor and the camera angles hurt the gameplay. Some of the puzzles are ridiculously hard, and may put off someone not willing to stick with a tough game.

I am a puzzle fan and I have played similar games before, and I faced some of the same frustrations, with that said I did enjoy the game, I completed it relatively quick, and once I got the hang of it, I started to feel pretty confident throughout that even when I got stuck, I would be able to figure it out.

Poor controls and camera angle issues really do bring the score down, as does the lack of any kind of hint system, which will just mean people will run to online walkthroughs.

I score Pnevmo-Capsula on Nintendo Switch a fair 6/10
Better camera angle, simpler controls, a hint system, and more levels, would definitely improve the score.

Out on 19th October at

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