It is the first week of July, which means it is Independence Day in the United States. There will be a lot of fireworks bursting in the night sky, and a lot of celebrating and patriotism. The Fourth Of July is a major federal holiday for Americans, but this year it is also the day before the puzzle game Yuso comes bursting onto the Nintendo Switch. A Yuso is a cute little blob or animal…actually it is not really made clear what exactly a Yuso is… just that they have infested planet after planet in the Solar System. The player then takes the role of a space doctor to burst them in an effort to eradicate them from the Solar System. That is about as much lore/story as you get as there is no story really connecting the game together beyond that initial premise. Is the rest of the game this half-heartedly treated or did the developer, Vertical Reach, put in more time in the gameplay and how the game is presented?
The game comes off as really simple. From the user interface to the gameplay, it just is all presented in a straightforward manner, if not clean. The gameplay quickly throws new things at the player from new colors to bombs. Quickly after throwing bombs at the player (which changes the color of the Yusos or bursts the ones of the color the bomb was at the end of its countdown), the game then throws sleeping Yusos and nightcaps at the player. Sleeping Yusos have to have an explosion nearby to awaken it before it can be exploded itself which adds a layer of difficulty and critical thinking to the levels. The nightcaps are like bombs where they have a countdown. However, at the end of theirs they make nearby Yusos fall asleep. The biggest challenge is that Yusos must be near a fellow colored Yuso to be able to burst them.
This gameplay loop- and the game itself- is not the most engaging for older players, but it feels like this game was made for kids mostly in mind. Along with the story being very simple, players may skip levels that they are having difficult with. Alongside that, the different “worlds” unlock at a quicker pace than you finish the particular world you are currently playing through. This makes things super easy for adults; I played through all eighty levels and cleared fifty-two of them in about ninety minutes, but kids who are still developing problem solving and critical thinking skills have a way to not feel frustrated if they get stuck. It also helps that the game features touch controls, seeing as kids like to just touch things whenever possible. All in all, no matter the age, the average time spent playing the game will be a couple hours.
Players will also love having the option to either completely reset the level they are on, or just back up a few moves to see if they can figure out where they went wrong. These quality of life features gives players a chance to make the game easier by using them or more difficult by ignoring them. This flexibility, along with the aforementioned ability to skip levels, is what really saves the game and gives it versatility toward pleasing several different demographics. Young professionals who are using public transportation or taking a plane somewhere can play this to kill time; older adults can use the game to help keep their minds sharp as they get older; kids can use it to develop skills and have something to do while in the backseat during long road trips. All while the price is right at USD eight dollars.
With a game such at Yuso it really comes down to the price as the game is very simple, non-offensive, and some may even say bland. Thus, the bargain-priced sales tag hits the sweet spot of not too much to scare players away, but low enough where a sale will easily hit the price point of anyone who waits for a sale to pick it up. The biggest issues include the fact that the controller controls are not the smoothest as it cycles through a set route of Yusos and not really the direction you point it while also being too utterly simple to keep the attention of the older players who may pick it up. Combine all that with the fact there is really no story or sense of actual progression (minus the different worlds and level numbers) and this is a slightly above average game. (Ryan Williford; Gaming Editor)
Review copy provided by Vertical Reach; reviewed on the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode