Writhe Review (Nintendo Switch)

See one killer worm swarm, see them all

Switch isn't the greatest platforms for first-person shooters and although it has ports of classics like Doom and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, there are not a lot of exclusive shooters for Nintendo's little wonder. Mission Ctrl Studios has decided to change that with their arena shooter Writhe.

The premise is as simple as it is ludicrous: It's the 70s, you're in Thailand and there are giant killer worms everywhere. Your job is to keep the swarm at bay, at least until you die, because the horde never stops coming and all you can do is thin its ranks before it defeats you.

You are armed with a shotgun and an assault rifle, suitable for managing worms at different ranges as you run and gun around the arena trying to survive as long as you can. You can find health pick-ups and other power-ups scattered around the stage, but the worms will eventually catch up to you.

Just trying to kill some bugs, sir

The leaderboard tracks your best times, and the biggest motivation for braving the endless swarm is climbing the ranks. It’s unabashedly old-school, and the most enjoyable way to play Writhe is to turn on performance mode, switch on the retro filter and bask in glorious, lo-fi 60FPS worm carnage.

It’s a hectic game with a relentless pace, and when a round starts there is simply no time for a breather. The worms’ onslaught is unrelenting, and the two most important factors are quick reflexes and learning the map. It can be pretty difficult to learn map layouts since you need to keep on the move constantly, and spend most of your attention prioritizing targets and dodging attacks.

You will be overwhelmed, and that’s the point. You can take five hits before it’s game over, and slowly but surely you start surviving for longer and longer. It’s not quite as pure as Devil Daggers, but it’s equally unforgiving and there’s not much here unless you enjoy repetitive hardcore arcade games.

ohgodohgodohgodohgod

Somewhat unexpectedly, there's a bit of story to Writhe as well. Worms drop gems, which unlock lore that tells you what's going on with the giant killer worms in Thailand. It's a bit odd, since it's hard to imagine that anyone will keep grinding worms to get to the bottom of that mystery, but if you care, well – it's there.

Writhe is not the greatest game on Switch, but it's a competent horde shooter. If you have played Devil Daggers and the Serious Sam games to death and love quick-burst high-score chasing, then this just might be the game for you.

PROS:

  • Charming retro styling
  • Varied levels

CONS:

  • Overwhelming difficulty
  • The unlockable lore is pretty dull
6/10Average

Writhe is available today on the Nintendo Switch. Developer Mission Ctrl Studios kindly provided a Nintendo Switch review code to DailyBits for free for the purposes of this review.