By Michael Fontanini / August 7th, 2020
|Developer||Long Neck Games|
|Release Date||July 15th, 2020|
|Genre||Platformer, Puzzle, Action, Communication|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, Steam, Xbox One|
|Age Rating||ESRB: T for Teen|
The protagonists of REZ PLZ, Arcan and Zeph, are a pair of brothers who suck at magic. After pushing their luck a little too far, they’re now rushing to get back to school in time. Despite their best efforts, they arrive to class a bit late. The teacher gives them some minor flak, and then asks them to demonstrate what they’ve learned. So one brother casts a spell on the other, causing him to detonate in front of the class! Fortunately, the nurse has an item that can resurrect someone, so all is well. She gives the resurrection scroll to the brothers in case of further incidents. Suddenly, the conversation is interrupted by a loud commotion outside. Arcan and Zeph run outside as all hell breaks loose! Their classmates are kidnapped as mysterious forces raid the place! Not taking them seriously, the baddies throw the brothers down a well and a new comical adventure begins. The brothers must kill themselves and each other to solve puzzles and advance if they are to save the world. Good thing they have the resurrection scroll! Do you have what it takes to help them use death to solve puzzles and save the day?
REZ PLZ may look like a simplistic platformer, but it’s full of puzzles to solve. It supports both solo and 2-player cooperative gameplay. In single player, you just get to control both brothers yourself. The entire adventure revolves around the fact that they can resurrect each other as much as they need to. For example, one brother may need to jump on a spiky area and die to create a platform so the other can pass. They’ll also need to help each other in other ways. For example, one brother may need to hold a switch to keep a door open, or spawn platforms for the other until he can get through.
There are five worlds in REZ PLZ, each with a handful of large, puzzle-filled levels to overcome. Each level has a secret chest hidden in it for the brothers to find. Each secret chest contains a new skin for the flying skull fairy you see below. It denotes which brother is currently active. Only one brother can move around at a time. The color of this marker is blue or green to match the brother who is active.
If you’re thinking the HUD is showing some sort of health meter, you’d be wrong. Each brother can hold three Rez Stones. One is expended each time he resurrects his brother. You’ll find more Rez Stones scattered throughout the levels. If you run out of them, it’s game over, and the remaining brother will likely have to suicide to start the level over. You can also restart a level at any time from the pause menu. This menu also lets you switch between classic mode and infinite mode at any time. In infinite mode, you have unlimited Rez Stones. This is great for kids and less patient players who might otherwise put the game down.
As your adventure in REZ PLZ progresses, the brothers will learn a new magic ability in each level. For example, one ability lets a brother turn himself into stone. This can be used to press things, fall safely through a laser, and more. Later worlds find new uses for some earlier powers, too. Another ability lets you absorb a fireball that you can then fire at will. However, don’t forget that the brothers suck at magic! As such, there is a time limit. If you hold onto the fireball charge for too long, your body will detonate, and your brother will likely facepalm before resurrecting you!
Each game world ends with a boss level. The first boss (shown above), is a trial of puzzles. If you can solve them all in this large area, you’ll trigger a chain reaction that kills the creature in the background, who keeps growling at you when you make progress. Later worlds have some more traditional boss battles, though they still involve some puzzles of course. Clearing a world also gets you an unlockable: a new level for Gauntlet Mode. There are five huge levels in that mode, each unlocked by clearing a world in the main game. Beating each of these long gauntlet levels will net you a different type of unlockable: a new resurrection animation for the brothers. You can change which one you’re using at any time from the pause menu. This is also true for the unlockable skins for the skull fairy mentioned above. You’ll need to use knowledge gained from the main game to overcome the gauntlet levels effectively.
The gameplay in REZ PLZ is fairly simple, but fun. Once in a while, you might get completely stuck at a puzzle, but the game is pretty fun overall. However, during my time with the game, there was a memory leak bug. This was according to the developers themselves in the forum for the Steam version (this review is the Switch version to be clear). I went there just to let them know of a bug I found in the game where one of the secret chests was unobtainable, because it contained a sprite already unlocked earlier in the game. I can safely say that the game runs much more stable now that the v1.1 patch just came out. You’ll still encounter a few glitches, but they are just minor ones now, as the game no longer flakes out and crashes as it did before.
REZ PLZ has a retro pixel-art graphical style, with beautiful hand-drawn graphics. The soundtrack is of course also retro-styled, and is very well done. The sound effects are also good. For example, the sound of one of the brothers going splat, or yelling as they fall into a death pit.
REZ PLZ is a fun little puzzle platformer. All the way through, it keeps a comical tone and never takes itself too seriously. After all, it is the story of a pair of brothers who suck at magic, and bungle their way through a quest to save the world! While dying over and over may not be pleasant, Arcan and Zeph have no choice. This main mechanic is a neat idea, and great for 2-player cooperative play. The only real flaw here is that the game could use a bit more polish, as odd little glitches happen from time to time. For example, you’ll sometimes get stuck in the side of a platform, but this is minor since you can pretty much always free yourself. The main game is somewhat short, but there are also five trials to unlock for Gauntlet Mode. I’ve spent 10+ hours in the game according to my Switch. In that time, I’ve completed the main game (with all unlockables except the bugged chest I mentioned), and cleared one gauntlet level so far. You can nab REZ PLZ on the Nintendo eShop for $14.99. The game is also available on Steam, and Xbox One. Do you have what it takes to die your way to victory?
Review copy provided by publisher.
Graffiti GamesLong Neck Gamesnintendo switchoprainfallREZ PLZSteam