If there’s one genre that’s lacking in the otherwise eclectic library of Switch games, it’s first-person shooters. Granted, there are the likes of the visually impressive DOOM and free-to-play Paladins, but otherwise the offerings are unmistakably limited.
Enter RICO. In this, Ground Shatter (indie developer of SkyScrappers, also on Switch) has created a tightly packaged first-person shooter that plays and feels like a classic N64 game. As part of a special ops team, you’re given the task of ridding buildings of illegal activity through chaotic and silly violence, with accessible, quick-fire fun ensuing immediately.
The premise is simple: navigate through rooms of enemies by booting down doors, and use your growing arsenal of firearms to gun down everyone in sight. The procedurally-generated rooms are straightforward to navigate, and with the help of a nifty overlay map, collecting extra bits like contraband will gain you a higher score, more experience, and more Merits.
Merits are RICO‘s currency, earned through the successful completion of missions. These can be used to unlock mods (such as sights and silencers) and weapons (such as shotguns, pistols, assault rifles, and grenades) for further missions, making flushing out and gunning down the bad guys much easier. Don’t get cocky, though; failing a mission will cause you to lose the lot, and start over with only a pistol to your name.
Initially frustrating, but a smart design choice, are RICO‘s roguelike elements. Before you turn your nose up, this decision creates urgency and forces you to fine-tune your skills and approaches – and that’s good. In each new case ‘Case’, the objective is to progress through the various missions and ultimately face off against a boss, after all. Having to redo the training mission isn’t such a great decision, though, and should be patched out to limit frustration.
The subtle freedom to select your own path is great. Being able to see the difficulty of your next task – which must be completed within 24 hours, or else is reset – also makes for fun pick-up-and-play sessions. Handheld play is well-structured, and although split screen isn’t available when playing this way, the game suffers very little in the way of performance even when smashing your way through doors.
One noticeable drawback is the lack of background music. Some tunes when activating bullet-time and spraying my enemies would have been incredible, as it’s a little too quiet for the most part. Still, the game is immediately enjoyable, even more so with a friend.
Co-op mode really shines through as the best way to play RICO, with split-screen working like a dream and communicating with your comrade to sneakily enter a room full of bad guys a joy to witness – when it works, of course. Definitely give this first-person shooter a try if you’re hunting for something quirky.
RICO won’t blow your mind with a gripping story, complicated characters and a questionable love triangle. What does do is provide a grab ‘n’ go title that’s fun to blast through with a friend on and offline with enough to keep you going for a decent amount of time.