RICO Switch review - "Finally an FPS that ticks the Switch's two missing boxes"

For all the Switch's library of weird and wonderful games, there are two big holes. First is a fast, ultra-violent shooter. Second, more surprisingly, is a split-screen FPS. RICO aims to fill both those gaps with its broad shoulders.

It's every action cop thriller you've ever seen, summed up in the tagline: "kick doors, kill men". Each level is a series of procedurally generated rooms, containing an assortment of armed criminals. Kick open the door and you get a few seconds of ultraslow bullet time to pop as many headshots as you can. Then it's bloody mayhem as you race to take down any remaining goons.

There is no attempt at story, or subtlety here. No-one explains why the sound of a gunfight in one room never draws in the enemies next door. No wider narrative links the adrenaline-fuelled gore painting of each kicking and killing session. No-one seems to care why a British woman is in charge of a secret extra-judicial killing arm of the American police.

Lucky, then that RICO needs none. It's rollercoaster rampage of moment to moment destruction is quite enough to keep you on the edge of the sofa.


The whole thing coasts along on its simple formula of fast, frantic fun. Of course, it throws in a bunch of extra spice to keep you interested. Some of it is the stuff you'd expect.

There's a range of weapons to experiment with from pistols and grenades to assault rifles and shotguns. You can upgrade them with a bunch of gadgets like laser sites. Often, you'll find keeping them supplied with ammunition a constant source of tension.

But the game cranks that tension up several notches through the use of timers and health. Some levels feature bombs which you've got to hunt out and disarm before their timers run down. On such levels the temptation is to charge in, guns blazing as the clock shaves precious seconds off your virtual life. Doing so, though, will burn down your health as fast as the timer and both are equally certain routes to death.

Rico Switch review screenshot - Killing close up

See, the meat of the game is its "case" system which gives you 24 hours to work through a series of levels to crack the case. But you carry damage from one to the next unless you spend precious merits to replenish it. The other things you can spend merits on are all those fun weapons and gadgets, which are far more tempting than boring old life points. So it's a nasty Hobson's choice between progressing your toy collection or progressing the game.


Tough choices for a tough game. It's a steep curve for new players but a choice of difficult levels widens the appeal. And as you gain experience you'll see how you can make tactical decisions to improve your play.

Sometimes its pays to slide in, blasting away, others to hang back and nightstick any enemies who come looking for you. There's plenty of explosive scenery to exploit for mass kills. And your choice of loadout can be tailored to certain play styles.

RICO's recipe of bite-sized brutality is well suited to play on a mobile device like the Switch. And having controller motion aiming as another option as well as console standard dual sticks is a bonus. But there are times when it seems to tax the hardware.

Clipping is common and you'll notice occasional hitches in the framerate. The real killer, though, is the time it takes to generate those random levels. Thirty-second waits between bursts of play is annoying compared with most modern titles.

Thrilling as it is in short doses, the standard game formula does begin to wear thin after a while. This is where the extra novelty of split-screen play should earn RICO a space in your collection. It's co-op only, you'll need two full controllers and it only works when hitched to a TV but it's glorious entertainment for all that.

Rico Switch review screenshot - Shotgun vs pointy stick

In split screen mode, you have to coordinate your door kick together to get bullet time. Which is fine at first, but disintegrates into chaos once you split up to cover ground faster. You'll end up counting down to bash the B button together, missing the beat and then shooting each other in head as you rush in real time. Because just as the game lets its dumb AI creations kill one another in their frenzy to kill you, it lets you kill your friends, too.

You can test your skills in a few other game modes, including a daily challenge. But at its core, the appeal is down to the old fashioned joy of busting doors and busting heads over and over again. You'll have seen it many times before and it could get old, fast. But it's a testament to how well RICO resurrects and refreshes this well-worn formula that it keeps the fun flowing.

RICO Switch review - "Finally an FPS that ticks the Switch's two missing boxes"

RICO serves up fantastic doses of frantic action, and co-op play compensates for its limited formula