[Beyond PlayStation] Quench Review
Quench from indie team Axon Interactive is a charming puzzle/strategy game you should check out on Nintendo Switch. Find out why in our Quench review!
Quench tells the story of the different animal tribes of its world: the Elephant tribe, the Wildebeest tribe, the Springbok tribe, the Zebra tribe, the Baboon tribe, and the Lion tribe. They set out on a pilgrimage from the Western Elder Tree to the Eastern Elder Tree, with each tribe bringing offerings to honor the trees. It had been a peaceful journey, but for one generation, things were not like they used to be. The vegetation dried up, and the sun was hotter than usual. What could possibly be going on?
And then, something truly bizarre happened: the Western Elder Tree bore nothing more than a single piece of fruit. Shaman, the elder of the Elephant tribe, remained by the tree’s side, waiting for a sign of what was to come. He saw how that single piece of fruit fell to the ground, releasing a bright bird-like figure from inside. This is Sheperd, a child of the Elder Tree, who you will get to control as it guides the tribes to safety during their journey. With the help of Shaman, the leader of the elephant tribe, you will learn to control your mighty power – more on this in a bit.
The first thing that will make the game stand out when you start playing is its minimalist and charming art style. Everything has a seemingly low poly look. It’s all very colorful, with blocky looking flora and fauna that all come together under the sun and the moon to bring the world of Quench to life. It almost looks as if it was a detailed arts and crafts paper-based project come to life on the TV screen – or the screen of the Nintendo Switch. I loved the way the game looks, and I also had fun with its gameplay mechanics.
You’ll control movement with the left analog stick, switching between herds with the ZL and ZR buttons. Set a path that the herds will take and revise it accordingly if there are any dangers up ahead. The powers you have access to for each section of the game are very important since they’re a finite resource that you need to use accordingly to solve the puzzles and situations you will face. Choose between your available powers with the X button, and then use it with the A button. You’ll sometimes need to zoom in on the action, which you can do by pressing up on the D-Pad. You can also control everything by using the console’s touchscreen when playing in Tabletop of Portable mode – or if you have a new Nintendo Switch Lite.
Speaking of the powers, they are of an elemental nature, tied to how activating them will end up affecting the weather, hopefully bringing you closer to solving the puzzle before you. As Sheperd, you can make it rain, bringing vegetation back to life. You can flap your wings to release great gales of wind. Using your feet to touch the earth, the ground will react to your might. The final power is lighting, which you can conjure with your screams to strike down all around you as needed.
The game will walk you through the different powers you can wield and use in Quench so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by having to control all of them at once. You’ll first learn about the Rain and Wind powers during the first level in the game as the tribes take the first steps of the pilgrimage. You will use your Rain power to revive dead plants that have dried out, and reviving a grove will reward you with additional power charges so that you can use your powers more and more. The game’s areas are hexagonal in nature, so be sure to review the range of your powers and what area they will be specifically affecting. Not all groves need to be revived with water, so be sure to pay attention to what needs to be done. Is it, for example, covered in sand? Then blow it away!
As the tribes move forward in their pilgrimage, you’ll need to keep them healthy. They will need to graze as they move forward, so if they’re moving through areas with dead vegetation or arid locations, their stamina will go lower and lower. If things don’t pick up, the weaker members of the tribe that are taking part in the pilgrimage could end up dying! Be sure to pay attention to the color of the terrain the herd is moving through, as it will clue you in on what needs to be done.
Rock and sand are bad for them, as there is no way of changing them to something beneficial, but at least you can use your wind power to move the sand out of the way and clear a path for the herd. To use your wind power, along with placing its effects over a particular area, you will also need to select in which direction the wind will blow. While wind can be used to remove obstacles from your path, it can also be used to slow down or speed up the herd, depending on in which direction you make it blow.
An animal will also lose stamina if it’s attacked by the dark, aggressive entities they will run into. On top of this, each animal can also lose stamina if it’s traveling through fire or pollution, or if it’s swimming through water. Keep an eye on the stamina bar, or else it will die! The good news is that when they find a safe spot, they will usually stop there to rest for a bit. When they do, make the most of this extra time to clear a safe path for the herd, making it rain over groves that are dried up, or by bringing the next resting spot to life.
As you progress through the game, you will need to make some decisions along the way to send the herd in one direction or the other. Some paths are going to be easier than the others, so make sure you check up ahead to see which powers you’ll need to use for each path, review how many charges you have for each of them, as well as how each grove you will revive along the way will affect that total, to make the right call. Pay attention to if a herd is in danger (its badge will turn red), or if it’s relaxing at a resting tree. You can also use rain to heal them, which will also be shown in that herd’s badge in the upper left corner of the screen. When controlling more than one herd, don’t forget to change between them with the L and R buttons.
Quench is a charming puzzle/strategy adventure that is a lot of fun on the Nintendo Switch. While the game does have some slowdown here and then when playing on Docker, Portable, or Tabletop mode, it’s not that big of an issue as to be a deal-breaker, since this is a more of a slower-paced experience. The game is available for $19.99, and it’s one that you should add to your digital collection.
This Quench review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Axon Interactive.