Clash Force

by Don

A tribute to the classic platformers and shooters dating back to the mid-1980s, the run-and-gun Clash Force game on the Nintendo Switch stirs up fond memories.

Featuring a straightforward setup, the retro single-player game offers a choice of three characters that you can control, a green rhinoceros named Voom, a sting-tailed blue scorpion called Scorpido, and a muscled-up orange platypus dubbed Echid. There are three difficulty options to choose from: normal, hard or expert, and more than 20 different levels including bonus stages to blast your way through.

The goal is to run and jump, shooting the invaders known as “Crackman and his evil forces” and only you as Clash Force can stop them. You accomplish this task with your gun, while avoiding getting stomped on by your foes and avoiding obstacles. The villains, some who run and others who can fly, will injure and kill you if you get hit by them, sending you back to the starting point. The player can shoot down flying copters carrying items that can upgrade your weapon. Shields protect you from one hit and losing your weapon. Clash Force leads players through forest bases, deserts and mines to Crackman’s fortress for the big finale.

On the Switch Lite, the player can use the left directional pad or the left thumb stick to control movement. Pressing the B button lets you jump. Holding the jump button will allow you to jump for a longer distance. You can shoot a single burst from your gun using the Y button or a continuous barrage of fire using the ZL or ZR triggers, or the X button. Sometimes the jump move can be a bit tricky using the direction pad because you to tend to only jump straight up, but not over, obstacles. However, the left analog thumb stick seems to provide a much easier forward-jumping experience.

Overall, Clash Force is a fun old-school style side-scrolling platform shooter providing a gleeful adrenaline rush when you blast the baddies before they bash into you.  For anyone who loves gunning, running and jumping, Clash Force easily fills the bill. It can appeal to gamers of all ages who are seeking a pleasant way to pass some idle time without having to deal with an in-depth storyline.

Graphics on Clash Force are top-notch, utilizing a wide range of bright colors and solid forms, an upgrade over the images available on games from the days of yore some 30 years ago. In fact, it is impressive that you can even see each individual green leaf on the trees in the game.

The music accompanying the game is nothing fancy, just some repeating dramatic sounds. If it becomes irritating, though, the sound can be turned off in the options menu. This menu also allows you to change the language. Clash Force includes a practice tutorial mode to acquaint yourself with some (but not all) of the controls.

A big “thanks” to Publisher Ratalaika Games and Developer Spicy Gyro Games for providing the review code.

The creators of Clash Force unearth nostalgic feelings on a modern gaming device, which earns the game a score of 7 out of 10.

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