Pepper Grinder – Test, Platformer, Nintendo Switch

Pepper Grinder: A lot of pepper in the butt

You may have to groove for a few minutes, then the drilling will work by itself.

As is well known, a heroine needs motivation to take action, so the previously very successful treasure robber Pepper is given the opportunity at the beginning of Pepper Grinder First of all, all of their captured Reich towers were taken away. The guilty? A group of notoriously annoying Narlings, who are obviously just the henchmen of a masked villain. While trying to get her treasure back, Pepper falls into a ravine, but at least stumbles upon a practical tool: The Drill called grinder (the game title is to be taken literally), with which she can dig her way to new wealth.

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You don't have to dig for more depth or complexity here, because the star of Pepper Grinder is clearly the gameplay. After the intro sequence, which took just under a minute, you can completely surrender to it incredibly satisfying drilling surrender: You start your new best friend with the shoulder (or L) button and start moving through the dirt like a fish swimming in the ocean. You can't get through all surfaces, but you can thanks to clear design It's easy to see where you're progressing and which areas are taboo.

Through the underground and past nasty gears: Lots of obstacles await you in Pepper Grinder. It's good that digging works so well.

Through the underground and past nasty gears: Lots of obstacles await you in Pepper Grinder. It's good that digging works so well.

It's hard to put into words how incredibly smooth the drilling feels, how small Pepper's turning circle is and how quickly the gameplay becomes second nature: Pepper Grinder serves up its best moments when it's easy for you digging from platform to platform a never-ending vortex of digging aside dirt and collecting gems. In this respect the game feels a bit like Sonic: When it works, it works right – if not, well… then Pepper still controls herself enough to not feel like a beached whale. Still, the sections outside of the dirt tend to be stumbling blocks in the otherwise smooth experience.

Turned through the pepper mill

Although drilling is of course the driving force in Pepper Grinder, the game lacks in its short duration around four hours Otherwise, leave no stone unturned: it will happen again and again fresh mechanics introduced so that you don't get sick of monotony. Whether ice platforms that break after being drilled through and therefore cannot be used again; Sprinklers that create new soil for digging in lava; or cannons that hit you like the barrels in Donkey Kong Country Shoot through the levels at lightning speed.

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If you shoot your way through the level with cannons, the timing has to be right, otherwise you'll end up in the yawning abyss.

If you shoot your way through the level with cannons, the timing has to be right, otherwise you'll end up in the yawning abyss.

Every now and then the grinder is completely repurposed: for example, put a Gatling gun on it to kill the Narlings and other enemies to send to where the pepper grows, while riding a moving underground train; or uses it to operate a giant robot that reduces any obstacles to rubble, but sometimes has to be left behind for a short time in narrow passages in order to get there well-hidden treasures to get. This makes the playing time fly by and before any of the gimmicks or the main mechanics even begin to get boring, you'll have already reached the credits.

A colorful (spice) mixture

You get not just playful, but also visually a lot of variety required: Starting with the sunny Caribbean, thanks to lava flows, you will soon move on to even hotter climes. Snow showers keep you cool and a toxic swamp with ruined houses expands the repertoire with a fourth, quite unusual world choice. As already mentioned with the various mechanics, the setting of course also affects the gameplay: a dream. In some places, however, there were exciting gimmicks can be exploited a little more – this is where the limited number of levels becomes noticeable.

Visually, the game only gets really detailed in places where you can linger. With the silent shopkeeper, for example.

Visually, the game only gets really detailed in places where you can linger. With the silent shopkeeper, for example.

The whole thing is presented in one classic pixel art stylewhich, however, compares favorably to other indie titles, including recently published ones Dave the Diver or Gunbrella, can sometimes seem a bit minimalistic. In return, the simpler representation helps with route finding, and there is a lot of attention to detail in the animations, for example when Pepper jumps out of the ground or the Narlings commit some evil deeds again. If you can't get enough of all of this, this is it Speedrun mode something for you: In each level you have to drill again for the best time. Depending on your performance, you will be rewarded with a corresponding medal, which you can then show off to your friends.

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