Two Parsecs From Earth is the type of title I would have been seduced to buy in my youth by its art style and protagonist, I’m a sucker for cute little droids and minimalist art style in the vein of Patapon (PSP). That being said, I’m fairly certain I would have returned Two Parsecs From Earth to my games shop in less than…well, two parsecs.
Two Parsecs starts off promisingly enough with a light hearted “crashed on an alien planet” story line. Z3-L1 is a charming little droid akin to Ratchet & Clank meets The Clone Wars and the art style, while minimalist in nature, is executed very well. Plot and gameplay are straight forward with Z3-L1 being immediately tasked with collecting power cells and cargo to restore his ship and escape the planet full of things that want to kill him. Intermittently the player reaches stations where they can choose a new ability for Z3-L1 and the ability the player chooses will effect the way they traverse the map. Early on your first choice is between dash or double jump, dash will allow you to cross chasms while double jump will obviously allow you to reach greater heights, that’s as complex as the decision making gets. It all adds up to capable Metroidvania style offering that leans heavily on exploring inaccessible parts of the game map after the player gains those new movement abilities. Level design is fine, music and sounds are fair for an economy game and I personally found the corny commentary from Z3-L1 funny enough at times even having a good laugh or two.
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM
Through my first hour or so of gameplay I was taking in the positives and was actually feeling very good about the game overall, then suddenly the negatives truly began hindering and erasing any enjoyment I could have with this title. The older I get the less patience I have for games that don’t respect my time. This game has no save or check points other than room transitions which isn’t so much a problem until you start being impeded by clunky controls. For a game that requires precision the games controls are shamefully imprecise and the repetition that is required to progress through the game will turn off most non-masochists as there isn’t much more than repetition to look forward to for your trouble. The imprecision never seems to get any better and familiarity with the controls is nearly impossible as identical button presses produce different results. I tried playing the game with various control set ups (pro controller, cons, PowerA GameCube controller) with identical results. Challenge rooms woven in to add length to the game are a hot mess and really just make you wonder why you’re even bothering at the point where you’re forced to endure them. A save anywhere feature would have at least cut down on some of the monotony of having to traverse the same areas to get to that one tough section or semi-blind jump that takes more than a few attempts to understand what’s being asked of the player.
Sir, it’s very possible this asteroid is not stable.
I really wanted to enjoy Two Parsecs From Earth because of its appealing art style and its little droid protagonist but I found myself wanting to toss a controller across the room while playing, something I haven’t done in 20 years. If you’re the type of gamer who likes banging your head against the wall in a “grindy” progression platformer Two Parsecs is for you, anyone else should steer clear.
Many thanks to Ratalaika Games S.L. for the review code, please visit Two Parsecs From Earth for Nintendo Switch – Nintendo Game Details for more details.