Scorch can be looked to as a good example of a missed opportunity. As a whole, the sidescroller post-apocalyptic shooter shows a ton of potential. That potential, however, is not displayed in the game itself. It is full of glitches and gameplay mechanics diminish any potential that may be present
As a survivor in a desert-like apocalypse where multiple holes in the ozone layer have wiped out most organic life, the goal is simple; survive.
The sidescroller genre is given a huge disservice with this game in its midst. While the frame rate is smooth and consistent, Scorch falls flat in just about every other facet. Enemies will attack from offscreen and can ruin an otherwise good run instantly. There’s no depth to the main character and the enemies feel stale as well and their script seems to boil down a total of five lines.
While running from left-to-right there are a number of bigs to be accounted for: getting stuck in a crouched position, not being able to jump over obstacles or pick up items. They occur frequently and get old quickly. The weapons are decent enough, but sometimes the weapons appear to work without working. The fire with direct hits without dishing out any damage to the enemy. Sometimes it hits, and other times it passes right through. It would make more sense if the gun jammed, but no, the round just goes through a bad guy without taking damage.
The shooting feels like an arcade, as expected. However, there is rarely a chance to accurately aim like the game recommends.
On top of all of this, there are no checkpoints, meaning if the character dies, it’s back to the beginning of the level sent right back to the beginning of that level. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge talking point, but the abundance of bugs and the tediousness of the gameplay makes restarting a level all the more irritating.
There are glaring typos in the instructions of the game, one of which being displayed above. Nobody is a perfect writer, speller or grammatical genius, however, with something as short-winded and prominent as a simple tutorial instruction, something like that should have been caught. It’s not the same as a typo or grammatical mistake in an article like this where a mistake might get lost in all the wordage.
The best thing about Scorch is its graphics. In fact, it may be the main selling point for this title. The art style, as put by YouTuber Kyle Kidd, is reminiscent of This War of Mine.
The use of warm colors and the sun’s rays constantly shining down in a heat wave type of fashion help sell the feeling that this is a hot and unforgiving land. Little things are taken into account, like the satisfying smoke that radiates from the barrel of the rifle.
The main character and the enemies are constantly shadowed in some way, possibly adding more depth than intended. Intentional or not, the feeling of being a “shadow of your former self” works well to this games advantage.
However, unlike the aforementioned title, Scorch lacks quality in every other way.
For the most part, the levels are pretty generic. Sometimes it’s dark and a flashlight is needed. Sometimes jumping or crouching is needed to progress. Besides this there just isn’t much variety. As previously mentioned, glitches run rampant, and a lot of them are due to the level design. When moving forward and up against a car or other obstacle, don’t expect to be able to jump over it when standing right next to it.
Enemies are scattered around to appear in front and behind. This leads to some annoying instances where if a bug happens at that moment, then the fate is sealed to die, only to be sent right back to the beginning to endure it all again. Sometimes they can even shoot through solid flooring, making the combat interesting, to say the least.
Scorch has very little replay value. It’s essentially the gaming equivalent of Circus Peanut candy. On the surface, it seems like something that someone can get behind, but having a few, a thought occurs, “This kinda sucks, and it’s probably bad for my health.”
Scorch has tons of potential. Unfortunately, that potential is dragged down by a variety of glitches and general annoyances. With glitches ruin the immersion, it is hard to keep engaged. If the developer were to release a massive overhaul patch, this may be something worth taking another look at. As it stands, however, the bugs present in this game are breaking and not justifiable.
Scorch is available on Steam.