Antonblast Nintendo Switch Demo Impressions: Explosive Fun

by David Sanchez April 25, 2024 @ 2:12 pm

Antonblast Nintendo Switch

If you haven’t added Antonblast to your wishlist, you should go do that now. Of course, that’s only if you enjoy fun, over-the-top, high-octane games that operate at a frenzied pace and are designed to bring explosive goodness from the screen straight into your brain through your eyeballs — oh, hi, Post Void! Antoblast was announced for a November release on Switch during the recent Nintendo Indie World presentation. It was one of many promising games, but for my money, I’d rank it right at the top.

Wario-Like? Maybe, but So Much More, Too!

Antonblast Gameplay

I typically don’t rush to download demos. Nothing against them, but barring pre-release builds at shows like E3 (RIP) or those provided by developers, I would rather just wait to play the finished product from beginning to end. But something about that Antonblast trailer just hit different. I’ve been aware of the franchise for some time. Anton makes a cameo appearance as a playable character in the Pac-Man-inspired Annalynn, and YouTube channel hotcyder has an interesting feature titled Rise of the Wario-Likes that showcases a few games including Antonball Deluxe, the predecessor to Antonblast.

Speaking of that YouTube video — which you should absolutely check out if you like quirky action games — another title showcased in hotcyder’s feature was Pizza Tower. I played a little bit of that game last year, and I enjoyed it a whole lot. It’s fast-paced, frenetic, and loud. Antonblast is all of those things, too, and there are quite a few similarities, gameplay-wise and even tonally. Of course, Antonblast doesn’t feel like an imitation, but rather another game that shares similar influences — the most obvious being the Wario series and the Sonic the Hedgehog games.

There’s been this rising trend of attaching “-like” at the end of a genre or game series. Hell, I’m guilty of doing that. For what it’s worth, I don’t hate the trend (though I know some folks might), because it makes sense. Soulslikes. NES-likes. Wario-likes. All of these titles are meant to help us understand exactly what the influences for certain games might be. As such, Antonblast could definitely be categorized as a Wario-like, but it’s so much more than that. It takes its influences and turns them upside-down, creating a distinct action-platforming adventure that’s rowdy and rambunctious.

The Antonblast Demo

Antonblast Nintendo Switch Demo

The demo for Antoblast that’s currently available on the Switch eShop includes two levels, where you can choose between Anton and Annie. Anton is a gruff, hulking brute who loves smashing through things. And Annie is, well, pretty much that, too. The two characters aren’t very different outside of their designs, but we’ll have to wait and see if any of that changes in the final version of the game. At this time, they essentially feel like alternate skins of one another rather than entirely different characters.

As Anton and Annie, it’s up to you to find your stolen beverages, which have been taken by Satan himself. Speaking of which, the depiction of Satan here gives strong Dr. Robotnik vibes from the 1993 animated show Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. In short, it’s a great, comedic version of the devil.

The first level featured in the demo, Boiler City, is like a ‘90s Saturday morning cartoon depiction of New York. You’ll run across rooftops made up of bricks, orange safety cones, construction beams, and plenty of tagging on the walls. You move through the level by smashing everything in sight, collecting casino chips as you go along. You can destroy crates, blocks, enemies, and more, and doing so builds a combo meter. Keeping that meter built up is as challenging as it is rewarding.

Aside from running across rooftops, you’ll also enter some buildings and sewer areas. Some parts of the stage throw you into the background, adding a tiny bit of perspective change that’s really cool. Regardless of the scenery, though, the objective remains the same: Smash all of the things!

You’ll eventually reach the end of the stage, where you’ll trigger a detonator that immediately sets off a timer. That’s your cue to get the hell out of dodge and exit the level. You’ll run back from the direction you came in for the most part, though some previously locked areas will be open. This is very similar to Pizza Tower, as that game had you escaping stages by backtracking through them.

Antonblast Annie Gameplay

The second stage included in the Antonblast demo, Cinnamon Springs, functions pretty much the same as the first, though it’s much more challenging. This level is set out in nature, so you’ll run and jump across cliffs, avoid devious lava lakes, and propel upward using water springs.

One big change here is the inclusion of slower-paced precision platforming in a few areas. It wasn’t prominent throughout, but it did create a change of pace in what is an otherwise speedy game. I was thrown off a little and didn’t find these parts as enjoyable as the base gameplay on my first run through the demo, but playing it a couple times over, I didn’t necessarily find them tedious, either. They still felt a little out of place, but they worked well enough, even if they weren’t the most entertaining parts of the demo.

Destruction and chips aren’t all you’ll shoot for in Antonblast. You’ll also grab those stolen spirits, and there are collectible mixtapes hidden throughout the levels. You can also snag beets that act as health if you’ve taken a few hits from enemies. When your entire health meter is depleted, you’ll be sent back to the nearest checkpoint. These are forgiving, with the exception of the final checkpoint that’s triggered by the detonator. If you’re taken out on your trek back to the entrance, it doesn’t matter how far you’ve gotten, you’ll be sent all the way back to the detonator.

Hurry Up and Get Here, November!

Straight-up, the Antonblast demo on Nintendo Switch is a great deal of fun. I’ve played the two levels a few times each, and I’ll probably play them a couple more times soon. The game’s hyper-animated pixel art is great. The loud and chaotic sound fits the action perfectly. And the gameplay is just incredibly fun. As it is, the game already feels really polished thus far.

On the flip-side, the more precise platforming sections are a little bit off, and Anton and Annie don’t currently feel like more than alternate skins. These minor issues aren’t a huge problem, though, and they hardly detract from what is an otherwise impressive demo.

Antonblast is scheduled to launch on Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on November 12.

Follow this author on .