Based on the cargo ship that blocked the Suez canal, WHATEVER is a comedic send up of the race against time to complete tough obstacle courses with your cargo ship. You’ll need to drift, turn, jump and battle your way through long and complex levels with your behemoth of a boat but whilst WHATEVER will make you rage, it does so with a smile on your face.
Key to everything in WHATEVER is the physics. They are very stilted but not derpy in a way that some physics games are. There is predictability here and nuance. You just have to work very hard at it to get it right. You’ll be using a boost and reverse thruster to move your cargo ship in the slowest and heaviest of drifts alongside steering with the analogue stick or d-pad. As your ship is so heavy, you’ll often need to kick off the drift turn long before you hit a corner so that you can apex around it nicely and point the right way. Spanking the side leaves you beached and you lose time or money to respawn. Levels are split into two types. Reach the destination in time and keep your fragile cargo in one piece. Both require precision and when your hefty beast will plough into anything if you aren’t careful – its rage inducing. Yet WHATEVER, despite its difficulty curve having some real spikes, is largely predictable with its handling.
Those difficulty spikes don’t come in the form of ever tricky canals to navigate – although bounce pads, bridges and explosives do keep you busy. The difficulty spikes come in the form of bosses. These bosses such as kaiju or UFO battles require perfection in collecting certain power ups or performing certain moves. Miss one out of a good 40 odd, or slow down too much and its game over and back to the beginning. These bosses bottlenecked my progression heavily and will likely make some players so annoyed that they won’t get beyond level 4 in the game. The UFO boss had me stuck for a few hours. To aid this, coins collected can help unlock upgrades but these are priced in a way that requires significant grind for the best ones. It makes sense as they do make the game significantly easier at times but those boss battles will always be a test.
I had a blast playing WHATEVER. It is a simple, narrowly focused game that executes on everything I expected it to. It also provided a layer of stupid humour and crazy level design I hadn’t expected. Discovering a new level was a joy and whilst there are only 9 levels, they can last up to 10 minutes at a time. Add in some lovely lo-poly art and a chirpy soundtrack in the background and you have yourselves a hidden cult classic. Just knock a few points off the final score if you know being rageful in games is something you cannot take. WHATEVER is not an easy ride.
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