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Goliath Depot Review: Door Jam(b)

Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch

Also on: PC

Price: $6.99

I realize at this ripe old age of 44 that I'm no longer the gamer I once was. I find myself less interested in open-world exploration games and 100-hour-plus RPGs. The Mike of 2010 would be baffled at such a comment, but there it is. Instead, I find enjoyment in games I can pick up and play for a couple hours like a linear 10-hour game, or a quick arcade-style affair. Goliath Depot is the latter of those examples, and scratches that quick, pick-up-and-play itch that I tend to get lately.

Goliath Depot is just that; it's a short, fast-paced arcade game. You play as George, a lowly worker at the mega-corporation Goliath Corporation. During one of his usual, late-night shifts, he comes across strange blue doors that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Worst of all, the Goliath products have taken on a mind of their own and gone crazy. It's up to George to close all the doors before these Maximum Overdrive-y products get out and wreak havoc all across the city.

To do that, you play as George (or Georgette) and quickly move across all levels, shutting doors, defeating enemies, and taking on bosses. Each world has ten stages, and true to its arcade roots, each stage is a static screen (no side-scrolling). Once George closes all the blue doors (or windows), the main door will open up, allowing him to enter it to complete the level and move on to the next one. The only way to defeat the various enemies throughout the level is by shutting doors. Every door that closes will fire a sonic projectile in both left and right directions, and any enemy hit by that will turn blue and be weakened. If George runs into them before they turn back, he'll kick them into the stratosphere. You'll also try to collect coins throughout each level – I'll get to what that unlocks in just a second.

Each level also has to be completed within 80 seconds, and you only have three hit points. If you lose all your hearts, it's game over. Once you reach level 10, you'll take on that world's boss. Each boss has different attacks and patterns to learn, and you'll have to slam doors to weaken it. Once you defeat the boss, you'll get an end score and move on to the next world.

Goliath Depot features four worlds total with 10 levels each. While this may not seem like a lot – and it really isn't; you can beat the game in just about an hour – there's a lot to do after the credits roll. Each world has different challenges to beat – collect all the coins, don't defeat any enemies, a pacifist award, etc. If you manage to complete certain challenges, you will unlock other playable characters. There's also a speedrun mode, a hard mode, and another fun unlockable that adds significantly to the replay factor. I won't say what that is because I'd like you to be surprised by it too. There's also developer challenges designed for those who love a good speedrun. Supposedly there's also online leaderboards, but at the time of this review I did not see that feature added to the Switch version.

In addition to the unlockable content, you can use coins collected throughout the game to purchase power-ups. These power-ups range a dash move, to being able to drop down a level, to my personal favorite, the double jump. You can only equip one power-up at a time though, so make sure you choose one that will benefit you depending on what your goal is. For example, if you're trying to achieve the “Speedrun” medal, you may want to equip that dash ability or double jump. You can also use coins to continue your run if you get a game over screen, just like in the arcade.

And if all that isn't enough, Goliath Depot features a two-player co-op mode. You can both choose your own power-up and tackle the game, helping each other out as you clear the levels. Best of all, co-op mode also impacts challenges! I asked my son for help, and together we were able to complete all our speedrun challenges. Now we're working towards that pacificst mode – and it is tough. Co-op adds a new layer of fun and strategy to the game; we would call out our plans to each other as we started each level, and it made a fun game that much more enjoyable. I also love the music and presentation. The chiptune soundtrack, classic sound effects and end-of-level victory tune goes perfectly with the classic style of Goliath Depot. And you just gotta love the classic digitized voice that counts down and yells “GO” at the beginning of each round!

While Goliath Depot is fun, it's not without its flaws. Yes, the main game mode can be quite short, and that can be a turn-off for some. Also, the game will lag in rare instances. One instance in particular is during the second world's boss battle. This one is pretty intense, because you need to act fast or the boss will regain health. There's a momentary freeze that occurs and it throws me off. I will also say that while the game is challenging (as arcade games are apt to be), some of these challenges are really, really tough. I fear I'll never be able to unlock all the secret characters in the game due to the difficulty. I would have preferred them being purchasable, and having the medals unlock something else. Overall though, its runs quite well. Also, the co-op is only local. While local is appreciated, if online co-op was added, it would just be some extra icing on this already-delicious cake.

Goliath Depot is a love letter to a lot of classic arcade games. I caught glimpses (and references to) games like Donkey Kong, Bubble Bobble, Pac Man, BurgerTime and Bomb Jack, and was inspired by the Phillips CD-i game Hotel Mario. It's a real throwback to classic games - I can totally picture a Goliath Depot cabinet sitting in a dimly-lit mall arcade, the chiptune music and colorful attract mode drawing my attention as it begs for my quarters. And for only 32 quarters (that's $7.99), it's priced perfectly. Some might not like the style of gameplay or the challenge it presents, but others who enjoy a quick 20-minute challenge or a speedrun will find themselves right at home. The game is one of those pick-up-and-play experiences – anyone who's ever played a 2D game will have no problem getting into Goliath Depot. I'll also add this – play the co-op. It's an absolute blast.

Final Grade: A

Side note – I'd like to thank the developer Vidvad Games for stopping me from making a big mistake. I am currently in the process of selling off a good majority of my video game collection, and one of the items I was going to get rid of was my Mayflash Arcade Stick. As I played through Goliath Depot, I felt the itch to play it using an arcade stick. So I ripped the price sticker off the box, took out the stick, and hooked it up to my Switch. And yes, I felt right at home playing this game the way it would have been played in the 80s. As a result, I will not be selling my stick. Thank you!

Review code provided by Flynn's Arcade



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