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Review: Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl (Nintendo Switch)By mikem52 At 07.05.2020 08:12

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With Mallrats Kevin Smith has garnered through the film medium, so it could be easy to knock out a quick, mediocre title, and ride that wave of nostalgia and good feeling all the way to the dollar signs - publishers love the smell of commerce in the morning. Thankfully this is not the case here, and a deep crafted experienced is on offer under the veil of what could easily been seen as a basic brawler. As simple a premise as you could want from the genre, but also serving as a companion of sorts to the original movie, "Heroes" Jay and Silent Bob have been tasked with sabotaging the show that will hinder movie protagonists T.S and Brodie from finding happiness in SEGA and when Jaws pops out of the water.

Task completed and stage sabotaged - the objective is simple: escape the mall, and avoid the security detail, led by barbershop hat wearing chief of security, LaFours. Leaning into the style of masters of the genre, River City Ransom and Double Dragon, and cherry picking the best out of both, the presentation of this title wraps players cosily into its bosom with large colourful sprites and deceivingly stuffed level designs. A carpet shop called Rug Munchers is never not going to be funny to Askew Universe fans, and each enemy also brings a fuzzy feeling of familiarity. Hockey jersey wearing goons litter the floors, Mooby Cows charge out of Truth or Date sets, and Chocolate covered bruisers lurk behind every pretzel stand.

Combat is surprisingly deep, with plenty of surprises lurking outside of the basic punch-kick combos expected of similar titles. Both Jay and Bob have their own unique special moves, which are suited for particular enemies and its experimentation that leads to progression. This title is far from easy but never unfair. Careful timing, repetition and learning of enemy patterns, is the name of the game, and scenarios are going to take a few play-throughs before they feel like a walk in the Plaza. Difficult from the outset, but never to a point where players can feel hard done by, Mall Brawl strikes the perfect balance between challenging and satisfying.

With couch co-op available, this is perfect for a post-lockdown, curtain closed, mini roll snacking clocking. For now however, a clever character switch system makes things a little bit easier, and a lot more tactical for the solo street fighter. With a quick tap of the R button, either Jay or Silent Bob can be tagged out to take advantage of each other's special combos and reserve health bar. While the other character is in reserve, their life will begin to replenish up to half of their total energy. The catch is energy is only replenished when in combat. Any breaks in the fight reap no health rewards. Taking advantage of this system is key to progressing through each level, and quickly becomes a delicate dance of avoidance, while waiting for a game saving character switch.

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Though the difficulty is going to put off a lot of newcomers to the genre, the truth is that most of the love for this title is still going to come from gamers who grew up, not only with a yearning for an age where the achievement was simply completing a tough brawler, but for the age itself; when stoner humour was prevalent, and where, with just a little scratching of the surface, you could find real emotional depth and good feeling in movies such as [i]Mallrats[/i]. [i]Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl[/i] doesn't rest on its laurels, though, and provides as much depth in its combat as any Smith vehicle. The health regen through character switching also makes it far more tactical and rewarding than expected. Fun as a solo adventure, and a riot with a hat wearing friend, settle in with a chocolate covered pretzel, and tell them and as many others to check this one out.

8

/10

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