With so many meaty experiences coming to the Nintendo Switch that were previously reserved for home consoles alone, sometimes it's nice to get a mobile experience that's more akin to what we've been used to. We're talking about games that keep things simple but remain as fun and addictive as anything else, and Infinite State Games is providing something along those lines with Family Tree.
You might know this developer as the studio behind Rogue Aces, another game that kept things simple in essence, and this is the case here too. You play as a piece of fruit whose land has been invaded by the evil skull Pedro, and your task is to get your fruity family back via 128 levels, each of which sees you get from the bottom of a tree all the way to the flag, at which point you complete the level.
Sounds straightforward, right? Well, it is when it comes to controls, as you use ZL and ZR to move left and right, while catapulting yourself with A from a stationary position, using a projected arc, like something along the lines of Angry Birds. As you progress, you collect more fruit, and a trail follows behind you, like the old Snake game.
Family Tree doesn't stay still for long though, as there are a ton of elements mixed in with these levels to crank things up a notch, including the pinball-style bumpers that'll send you bouncing around all over the place. Only the most skilled players can direct themselves in mid-air using ZR and ZL at these speeds, and this makes it a game that feels perfect for high-score chasing like we're back at the arcade.
That's also because a timer at the side of the level counts down as well, reducing the amount of points you get the longer you take, so you're encouraged to zoom up the tree, collect all the hidden extras and fruit, and make it to the marker as quickly as possible, which is easier said than done when enemies are also roaming around to halt your progress and bring your darting flight to a standstill.
There are even cannons to shoot you up as well, some of which are static and automatic, while others spin around and require you to time your shot to get the best results. The worst is when you get into a trail of cannons that leads you prematurely to the marker as well, skipping loads of collectibles in the process, which is just one way this game lends itself to replayability if you're a score-chaser.
The levels are divided into various seasons, and between the seasons the vertical adventure is traded in for a left-to-right platforming journey through precarious bouncy pads. Pedro is chasing you, so you'd best be quick in these levels, but with the speed at which you can move and the bumpers and obstacles in the way, this is easier said than done. These are the real challenges in Family Tree, and might get you a little enraged.
With an Endless Mode, the option to play as two characters, and a race battle mode for couch party play, there's extra to enjoy once you've completed all the single-player stuff, but alas it still felt short-lived in our hands as we blasted through the levels. That said, the easily-consumable nature of the game makes it perfect for playing on the go with the Switch, from trains to planes and even those moments you only get a minute or two for one level... or maybe just one more.
It's deliciously moreish and that's part of the reason why we were so engrossed to keep playing, getting as many secrets as possible and all the fruit we could muster in each level. It's not got that much depth past the main campaign, but it's a blast as a quick arcade game, made even crazier by all the various features in the level and the vibrant colours that pop out all over the place. If you want a game that doesn't require a lot of your time but lets you pick up and play easily, this is definitely one to pursue.
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