Violett is a point and click adventure by Forever Entertainment SA that’s been ported from the mobile platform to the Nintendo Switch as of late. Inspired by Alice In Wonderland and other great works, it brings forth quite an imaginative, beautiful and psychedelic world. Here you’ll need to rack your brain to solve the many puzzles and mysteries to move forward.
You play as Violett, a young teenage girl who is dragged by her parents and moves into an old spooky house in the middle of nowhere. Parted from her past life, she grows immensely bored, but cannot fathom what comes next. A shimmering light grabs her attention from a nearby mouse hole, and as she reaches to grab it, she is instantly in a completely different place. In this new magical world full of opera singing frogs and where garden gnomes are emissaries, she must use her wits, and hopefully with a bit of luck to solve the new worlds mysteries and be reunited with her parents.
Violett’s visuals stick out right away and really help set the tone of the game early on. You are very much in a psychedelic, fairy tale like world. The 3D models used for the characters serve their purpose and are animated decently, but the real eye catcher are the hand drawn back grounds that your characters interact on. They are absolutely superb. They are both vibrant and highly detailed and really showcase some bizarre things in this new world. From an art direction point of view, everything is fantastic. The alternate world imagined in Violett is portrayed perfectly through the hand drawn stills.
There is much to see around each area and the game constantly has your eyes scan around all over the screen for all the oddities about. Whether it be the odd characters you encounter, to bizarre things like teapots with menacing teeth and a huge cyclops like eye, there’s always something sure to surprise you. All the variety of things to discover and see really make you as the player want to continually press on further and further to see what else is out there in this mysterious world.
Violett not only looks great, but it sounds good to. Before I get into the music, the sounds used may seem simplistic, but really add some ambiance to the whole package. Whether it be flies buzzing about the screen as the sound shifts from one speaker to the other, or even the simply but charming character voices, everything is very pleasing to the ears. I find it brings the world to life and makes it feel very interactive.
To help drove home the feeling of mystery and curiousity to learn this new world, the sound track really fits the bill. The music is very melodic and bizarre and just seems to lend perfectly to putting me in the mindset of solving puzzles and put my thinking cap on. Some tracks, if I close my eyes can easily put me a trance like state, which says wonders about the music composed for Violett. I highly recommend checking out the track below.
In Violett, what you’ll be spending most of your time doing however is taking on puzzles. Each area is basically an intricate network of puzzles that require you to solve each one to be able to advance. Each will usually provide a reward in the form of an obscure item, that will most likely be needed to solve the next set of puzzles later on. It makes the entire world feel like it was well thought out and it was pretty neat seeing how each was connected to one another.
I will say though, if you are turned off by puzzles even to the slightest degree, Violett will not be for you. There are tons of puzzles needed to be solved, and they are all pretty challenging to figure out. Thankfully, there is a hint system that the game offers. It can offer up to four hints per area and they usually don’t directly give away the solutions so blindly. So you’ll still need to work at it to some degree. The hints are also a bit cryptic as they are presented as rough sketches in the form dialogue bubbles. Some were pretty clear on what I needed to do, but on the flip side, some areas were still difficult even after viewing all four hints. Hints are also not readily available at any given moment. You will need to charge up a meter to be able to use each one, which is refilled by simply walking around. So Violett in no way hands anything to you on a silver platter.
Puzzles do fall shorts half the time however, and quantity is not necessarily indicative of quality. In most cases, the puzzles presented are very cryptic, and it’s not very clear in some cases what needed to be done. This resulted in several moments where I was stumped and I literally touched every corner of the screen until something happened. I know this can be kind of a trade mark thing about point and click adventures, however I felt Violett took it to another degree that made it very frustrating and stressful at times to try and make progress.
Some of the puzzles were so hard that I needed to do some searching online just to advance in the game, which I’m ashamed to say. I normally avoid doing such things, as I usually love the challenges a puzzle game can bring to the table. However Violett’s cryptic puzzle design was both hard to decipher, and ultimately, once I did find solutions for some, they didn’t always make sense. In most cases, it lacked that AHA moment you get when you either solve a puzzle or see someone else complete it. This ended up making progress made feel like dumb luck in the end, which is not something I desire.
Unfortunately this is not all Violett has going against it, and it falls short in another key area, that being it’s controls. Violett is one of those special Nintendo Switch games that supports full touch screen controls. On paper, this sounds great and should make it a very intuitive game to play given that it’s a point and click adventure, but as I got deeper into the game, things occasionally became frustrating. By touching on the screen will Violett walk to the desired area, or interact with items around the scene. I found sometimes the hit boxes so to speak to be quite picky, and if I wasn’t 100% precise, Violett would either do nothing, or move to the wrong area. This could lead to things like her climbing a tall ladder, which you cannot cancel out of and have to wait for her to complete climbing. To counter this, I’d have to frantically tap the area I wanted her to go to, just to ensure she didn’t take an unexpected turn or stop half way there.
If touch screen controls aren’t your thing, there is regular controller support included with the package. However, I found it very cumbersome and counter intuitive to use. There are hotkeys for certain commands available that make some tasks easier to do or figure out, however sometimes you may need to use the cursor with the right analog stick to scan around the screen. It’s supposed to mimic mouse movement like you would find on the Steam version of the game, however it ends up just being too hard to use. It normally moves very slow, and to make it go faster, you need to hold the right trigger to do so. It makes certain actions too difficult to perform that I ended up just reverting back to the touch screen.
This was a big let down I must say. I started out playing Violett in docked mode and visually, it looked beautiful on the big screen. The music also came out so well through my speakers. Although audio can be rectified with a nice pair of head phones, it was a shame that I could not enjoy this on my TV. I think with some refinements, the regular controls could be made to work, but in it’s current state, it’s something most players will probably pass on.
The last key area that Violett fails on, and why I cannot recommend it for purchase in it’s current state is it’s overall quality and stability. There are several times the game does things that indicate the game was not thoroughly tested and polished for it’s release. Several times as you play, the game will automatically save your progress, which is nice. However, it has an odd little bug that really stands out and breaks the immersion from the whole experience. As the game auto-saves, the music cuts out and goes completely silent until the save is done. It becomes quite distracting and I became highly annoyed by this, since I found it interfered from my thought process. Other times I found on occasion that my inventory items would clump up and made be unable to scroll and select items correctly. This forced me to restart my game to fix this.
These bugs are far from being game breaking, but there is one that does unfortunately take the cake, and why I say you should avoid the Switch version of Violett for the time being. That is near the end, there is an area you need to advance to complete the game. When the loading screen comes up, it is followed by a black screen, and nothing happens after that. I waited endlessly and the screen never loaded, forcing me to reload the game. The game is unable to be completed in it’s current state, and I would say hold off on getting the Switch version until this is rectified. The developer is aware of the bug and has indicated a fix would be on it’s way soon.
Violett is quite an imaginative point and click adventure. From it’s detailed and lush visuals showcasing psychedelic vibes, beautiful scenery and bizarre creatures, it’s quite a unique experience. Accompanied by it’s stellar sound track, these two elements really help bring the vibe of Violett together. Sadly, it’s hindered by a sloppy implementation of sloppy controls, whether you opt for using the touch screen or the regular control scheme. It’s puzzle design has some highlights, but overall ends up being a tedious experience that leads to much guess work and random fumbling around the screen until you just happen to come upon the solutions. To top it off, Violett is lacking polish, most notably, in the fact that the game crashes on a screen near the end, making this game unbeatable in it’s current state. Even if you can look past all the other problems, I cannot recommend Violett currently until this issue is addressed and players are able to complete the game.
Disclaimer: This review was done using a Nintendo Switch copy of Violett provided by the games publisher/developer, Forever Entertainment SA. Please be assured that this did not affect my opinion of the game, and that my criticisms are an honest and true representation of my thoughts on the game.
Given that Violett is unbeatable due to a bug, this review will be updated at a later time to reflect my opinion of the game once this is fixed and I am able to complete the game.