It’s not easy to keep things simple, to resist the temptation to over-complicate. Singled Out originally came out of a game jam (theme: ‘only one’), and the full release – initially on Steam, now on Switch too – hasn’t tried to needlessly bulk it out. This is a self-proclaimed “short, simple but challenging arcade game”.
Given three clues – the eyes, nose, mouth, hat or face shape – you have to shoot the only person in the crowd that fits them all. Get it right, and you’ve eliminated a galactic super-criminal. Get it wrong, and you’ve killed an innocent bystander – game over.
It’s moderately tense stuff, with a ticking clock to up the pressure and a well-judged difficulty curve. The first few levels are trivial: not many people in the crowd, and one or two of the clues will be enough to identify the criminal. As the levels tick up, the crowd gets busier, and more of them will match some of the clues.
Then with more faces on the screen, it becomes horribly clear that some of the different facial features are actually quite similar, particularly in certain combinations. But it is scrupulously, infuriatingly fair. You just need to look harder, have a better system. It’s your fault alone: of course those weren’t the right eyes.
It works very nicely on Switch: it’s fun with others on a big screen, working together to spot the bad ‘un; and the touchscreen works brilliantly when handheld. It’s also entirely accessible, and some people are just good at this sort of thing: my wife, for example, to her utter delight and my mild bemusement.
It’s a slender package – with an easier practice mode, and a harder mode to be unlocked – but appropriately priced, and you get what you pay for: a neat idea, charmingly executed.
Singled Out is available now on Switch.