Returning to the City of Brass.
Last year, veteran developers who worked on Bioshock launched a new first person roguelike adventure game on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. I was a fan of the title then, so when a review code for a Switch port came across my desk, I jumped at the opportunity. Taking a roguelike game on the go is, to me, the ideal way to play the genre, so City of Brass seemed like it would be at home on Nintendo’s console. After hours of gameplay on both the handheld and docked Switch, I was left with a mixture of satisfaction and disappointment.
City of Brass tells the tale of your chosen character (there are two unlocked at the beginning of this one) as he/she makes his/her way through the legendary City of Brass – a town cursed from its own greed, crawling with evil genies and an army of undead soldiers and mages. You are stuck in a forever loop, doomed to forever crawl the trap-ridden streets and buildings within.
I’m happy to say that the gameplay mechanics ported well to the Switch on the docked version. I use a pro controller, which I’ve always felt like was a perfected Xbox controller, and the game played smoothly. Initial sensitivity threw me off, but once I adjusted it and got back into the groove of City of Brass, the rest fell into place. Every turn holds a new peril, and you need to use your wits, strategize, and skills to power or trick your way through each stage.
[You can check out my past review for more in depth details on minor mechanics and plot devices here.]
The most important aspect of this review is to consider how it works on the Nintendo Switch. As I’ve already stated, City of Brass runs well while the Nintendo Switch is docked. The controls are smooth, if a bit sensitive at first, but there didn’t seem to be much difference between the PS4 version I played, mechanically speaking. The biggest dip in performance and functionality I experienced – the only negative, really – was that the handheld experience left a lot to be desired.
When playing my Switch in handheld mode, I struggled to control my character the way I could when docked. There’s just something about the Switch’s controls that are not comfortable or conducive to gaming. For me, this really hurt the overall experience because I was really looking forward to rocking a few lives before bed or while my baby napped. It won’t harm the overall score, as it is more of a personal preference and has little to do with the developer, but it is how I typically feel about most games when the Switch is in handheld mode.
If you chose to read my prior review, you’ll see that the game is one of the best roguelike experiences I’ve had to date, and that still holds true. While everything is limited in respect to Switch vs. PC/PS4/Xbox One, the experience itself is not harmed. In a game like City of Brass, a strong gameplay experience is what matters most, and it remains in tact for its debut on the Nintendo Switch. I highly recommend this one to fans of the genre and newcomers alike.