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Bake ‘n Switch Review: Doughlympics

/ Feb 16th, 2021 No Comments

Bake n' Switch review

In these trying times, we’re all trying to keep our heads above water and keep moving forward. The immeasurable losses we as a people have suffered are nothing to take lightly. Yet personal responsibility and taking this seriously involve a lot of inaction. Doing nothing is actually for the benefit of everyone. It’s why video game system sales have spiked to staggering heights. Staying connected online is a lifeline for many, and a way to battle the crippling isolation.

This wasn’t anything we could have prepared fully for. While console manufacturers have had a boon, developers have had to work with the curveballs. What is a couch co-op game when your couch is an island unto itself?

Bake n’ Switch is a fun game and would make for great local co-op. Unfortunately, it came out this summer in the midst of a global pandemic. While an online co-op mode was kickstarted and in the works way before all this happened, the true mark of ingenuity is the solo mode introduced in a free update post-launch. It lets anyone get a good sense and enjoy the dough based gameplay.

Grab and Toss

It’s a baker’s dream! An island brimming with different types of dough ready to be baked into treats. Unfortunately, insidious mold threatens to infect and spoil that sweet dough. Bad news for the mold, you and your fellow bakers ain’t got no time for mold. You’re going to save that dough from the mold and throw them babies into an oven! Wait…

Much like not watching documentaries about factory farming or reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, it’s best not to think about how throwing animalistic dough into an oven might be barbaric. It’s a video game though, so best to focus on the core gameplay mechanics, and not how broiling some cute birds, monkeys, snakes, and armadillos is cruel.

Bake n' Switch review
Playing alone or together is good fun!

Ethics aside, Bake n’ Switch is predicated on a basic concept: pick up and throw dough into an oven. There are wrinkles and shades to that, but the only way to wrack up points is picking up dough and throwing it into an oven to bake. This gets more complicated and difficult the further you get into the game. However, at the start you’re simply focusing on picking up and throwing doughs into an oven.

Learning the ropes of the game take place over about 5-6 levels. At the start, it is pick and throw, but more importantly, combining. Combining doughs simply means throwing doughs into other doughs to create bigger doughs. The bigger the dough, the more points you’ll get when throwing it into an oven. A max multiplier of 30 yields the most points and can help you earn those stars. Stars are awarded at the end of each level for total points earned, and earning more stores allows you to unlock cosmetics and other goodies for your bakers.

Before you have to worry about multiple dough types, you gotta contend with mold. Mold in the game like real life is a detriment to flavor and freshness of dough. Instead of making the dough inedible, mold freezes the cutesy dough in place and reduces dough multipliers over time. Moldy dough also can’t be picked up and thrown, or combined. 

Bake n' Switch review
The layers to gameplay is delightful like a flaky pastry crust!

It is bad business. As chance would have it, bakers are equipped well to deal with mold.How you ask? Oh, they punch it in its dumb face. By rapidly punching mold, bakers can either eliminate it completely, or unfreeze dough.

Additional roadblocks to getting them points and baking that dough are gaps of water. While dough can be thrown across water, you can’t walk across it, which might be a real missed opportunity. Good thing bakers are a spritely bunch except Rosemary, she is kind of slow. Even our rolling pin wielding octogenarian can dash. This helps bakers clear gaps and zip around grabbing doughs.

Besides punching and dashing, bakers have their own special moves. These special moves have a wide range of uses like a flaming punch that can bake doughs on the spot or an anchor that can easily sweep and combine doughs in one go. Special moves can help wrack up the points when you drop  them at the right time in a level.

Bake n' Switch review
Doughs and molds are core to your experience in Bake n’ Switch.

Levels get more complex and challenging as you get deeper into the game. The first hurdle is a second dough type! Remember when you watch The Great British Baking Show or Cake Boss that they never mix dough types? Like you don’t see cinnamon bun dough and rye bread dough being mixed together like some act against god! 

Bake n’ Switch has a similar rule. You can’t mix chubby bun doughs with bird doughs or bird doughs with monkey doughs. Like doughs can only be combined with like doughs. Combining doughs remains the same: pick up and throw into another one. 

What becomes different with multiple doughs is that now you have to satisfy the oven’s wants and needs. If baby wants a fatty bird dough, you best not give it no piddling monkey dough. You lose points for throwing in the wrong dough (or god forbid a piece of mold).

Bake n' Switch review
Level design can be a wild ride!

Further complications come in the form of flavors (pools of fruits that can turn your bird doughs into pineapple, coconut, or strawberry variants) forcing you to throw in the right dough and right flavor to gain points. More molds show up to throw a spanner in the works. Also, the maps get wild like adding moving platforms, or creating verticality with spring boards.

The scaling of challenges gives the game a sense of forward movement and progression. It keeps you engaged by throwing in new elements and twists. This helps refine and reinforce what makes the core pick up and throw concepts compelling.

The major drawback to Bake n’ Switch is the lack of match making in online multiplayer. You can easily invite friends with the game to a lobby, but say you don’t have any friends with the game or they’re not available. You can’t really get anything going. Plus, couch co-op is kind of dead at the moment. The game’s major saving grace is its single-player mode (provided in a free update after launch).

Overall

Bake n’ Switch is a victim of these trying times. Couch co-op doesn’t really work when you can’t be in the same room with buddies. This is a shame because it is a fun party game. While multiplayer should be a saving grace, the lack of matchmaking hurts. To its benefit, the single-player update lets you enjoy the fun grab-and-toss gameplay to build those dough handling skills.

Bake n’ Switch was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code by the developer.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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BAKE ‘N SWITCH REVIEW: DOUGHLYMPICS

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall77%

GAMEPLAY8

Bake n’ Switch is a good mix of accessible and complex gameplay. The core concept is so simple anyone can grasp, but the depth added by different doughs, molds, flavors, and map types means you’ll want to come back and play more.

GRAPHICS8

Bake n’ Switch is so stinking cute. The doughs are adorable, and the bakers have a delightful chibi style.

SOUND8

Those bouncy island tunes are real chill and make for a groovy soundtrack to throw some dough.

REPLAYABILITY7

Certainly, the circumstances hurt the multiplayer factor, but there is plenty to unlock. Plus, when you can have pals over again, this will be a fun game to pop out in your party rotation.