Putting a 2D platformer on the Nintendo Switch should be an incredibly daunting prospect. Nintendo are, after all, the royalty of 2D platformers, unable to produce a truly bad game.
Yet that didn't stop the developers behind Unruly Heroes, who have persevered to deliver a charming, visually lovely adventure platformer that you can actually enjoy with friends.
A team of four heroes have been tasked by the gods with adventuring through the land and defeating the evil that lays before them, it's a pretty typical story, laden with some nice oriental themes and characters.
That theme extends to your four hero cast, of err… the monkey, the pig, the big guy with a beard, and a woman who looks distressed. I mean, I think at least two of them are signs of the zodiac or something. No idea about the other two, but the bearded guy looks a bit like Akuma, and totally has a shoryuken too.
This is an action platformer, and not really in the vein of New Super Mario. It's closer to Guacamelee, without the Metroidvania elements, and with the kind of detailed, animated artwork you'd expect from an UbiArt title. Not a surprise, seeing as some of the staff at Magic Design studios have experience on games like Rayman Legends.
You move through stages, solving mostly simple puzzles and beating the hell out of enemies as part of combat sections which break up the platforming. It's satisfying, with two character having a high jump and a glide, while the other two have a nice double jump to help them get around.
All characters are needed to progress through stages, so you'll be able to swap between them at will to solve puzzles, or if you just prefer a different combat style. At first, the platform-based combat reminded me of Super Smash Bros., and while that may have been an inspiration, the game plays very differently.
There are two attack buttons that will give you different moves when standing, tilting the stick, running, and while in the air. Like Smash, then, but a bit more limited.
Despite those limitations, that didn't stop the devs from implementing multiplayer. Competitive, player vs player multiplayer. Just like Smash!
Though honestly, the limited moveset of the characters means that fighting against other players just isn't very fun or satisfying. It's sad, but a fact, when against my friends, Unruly Heroes isn't very fun. But playing with them is an entirely different story.
When playing through the adventure mode in multiplayer, there is loads of fun to be had. Unlike the New Super Mario series, you won't be jumping on and bumping into your friends - although you can throw them - meaning you won't have the odds stacked against you when it comes to platforming challenges.
Having four friends, each playing one character, makes for an exciting game, where every player has their own abilities and things they can do to contribute and move through the level. It means you can make short work of bosses, while making the rest of the stage even more fun.
My first impressions of Unruly Heroes were mixed. And that's because I foolishly saw a competitive multiplayer mode and jumped right in. Once me and my friend were out and in the adventure, it was actually an excellent way to spend time with friends, one that got better once we had a full team of four to fight through levels together.
But that doesn't mean Unruly Heroes isn't fun in singleplayer. As I've mentioned, in many ways, it's up to the scratch of games like Rayman Legends, made by much bigger teams. While it's hardly an apt comparison, it shows the levels of quality the team have put into Unruly Heroes.