PAX West Spotlight: Newt One

PAX West Spotlight: Newt One

Newt One is a colorful platformer developed by DevNAri and published by Whitehorn Digital. It doesn’t seem like the most challenging game of it’s type, but being able to take a more relaxed approach to gameplay definitely works in its favor.

Newt One takes place in a land called Groovy Hue, which was at one time bursting with music and color. It was then hit by a phenomenon known as the Great Slumber, which took away its vibrancy. Main character Newt is then put to the task of restoring Groovy Hue to its former glory as a rite of passage.

Adding color to the world is automatic as anything Newt touches will have its color returned to it, although touching everything that needs color is easier said than done and requires a lot of moving and jumping back and forth until later levels. Core gameplay is simple, luckily it becomes more challenging over time, at least by a small margin.

As in many other 3D platformers, you start off in a hub world and select which level you want to go to, unlocking new ones along the way. This hub world didn’t do much to stand out besides its main purpose of being a hub, which made it feel a bit off, particularly to other games in the genre. I didn’t really explore the hub world too much as it seemed pretty empty, but It’s possible that I missed something or that it becomes more vibrant as you progress.

In the levels I played there were three different power ups introduced. The first power up was wings, which allowed me to jump higher and for a longer amount of time, making it easier to reach distant platforms. The second were drums, which in addition to spreading color a little further than usual, also turn water into ice temporarily so I could travel across it safely without falling into it — unless I took too long of course. The final power up I received was a wand that permanent increased the range of my color spreading ability. What was interesting about the two earlier power ups was that they were only available in their levels and once I finished said levels they didn’t come with me. Since the game already seems like a relatively simple experience, I can understand why this is the case.Another common characteristic of 3D platformers present in Newt One is collectibles. The two items to collect are parrots and notes. Notes are spread all throughout each stage, while parrots will be stuck in cages several specific locations until you get close enough to free them. Besides reaching 100 percent completion of a level, these collectibles didn’t seem to have any other benefits.

One other interesting thing I noticed is that there didn’t seem to be any enemies I had to take out and the only obstacles I had to get past involved platforming. I didn’t mind that there weren’t any enemies, but it did make these levels feel more empty than they should be. Since there aren’t any enemies, there’s also no health, so there’s no penalty for falling in the water or off of a platform.

Newt One provides an interesting and less frantic take on the 3D platformer genre, but I fear that most players will find it too easy to get through. Hopefully it has more to offer as more levels are unlocked, because then I think it could really be something special.

Newt One is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It will also be available on Nintendo Switch on September 12.

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