Newt One is a simplistic 3D platformer with some bold colour and music to make your trip feel worthwhile. Aside from a general lack of polish, alongside gameplay that could feel a lot tighter, there’s an enjoyable platformer to be had here, particularly for those looking for a loud and colourful world where you’ll bring animals, plants and objects out of their slumber.
You play as Newt. Half of the essence of an elder of the forest who didn’t pass their rite of passage. To fulfil your destiny, you must awaken the world from its black and white slumber by touching anything and everything, using wands you can find throughout your journey for some well-needed assistance.
The story is as ridiculous as it sounds, and even more of an attractive target of ridicule because of its generic comic-book style cutscenes which effectively consist of you pressing a button to see the next speech bubbles.
It begins as you’re celebrating your birthday, when your purple blob-with-a-horn friend suddenly breaks the news to you that all of the elders have been captured and the great slumber has come again. As it does every 10 years, apparently. Surprise! Why? I don’t know.
Moving on from the rough story start, DevNAri have made sure that the gameplay does have a soothing edge to its floaty jump mechanics and bossa nova inspired soundtrack. Touching anything in the level will bring it back to its former colourful glory, but will also trigger a small musical note that seamlessly slides into the main melody for the level.
There are four worlds with six levels in each, all providing different environments, styles and mechanics to keep a sense of anticipation to see what’s in store next. That being said, there is a lack of challenge, and that is still despite the fairly easy nature of a standard 3D platformer.
I found myself craving more complex obstacles to overcome, as the simplicity of Newt One edged towards boring nearer the end of my 1.5-3-hour playthrough. Dying, however, feels frustrating due to a personal need to complete the level with a perfect run (all musical notes and owl collected, and all things awoken without dying) to earn all five available badges for the level. And it is this which sees the need to start from the beginning of the level even if it was due to a miscalculated final jump that corrupted the now not-so-perfect run.
Awakening everything with your touch does feed into the OCD side of a gamer, which has nearly taken over my entire psyche, making this particular venture feel rewarding and soothing. My only complaint with this main mechanic of the game is I wish there was a way to easily check if there was a piece missed; more often than I would like to admit, I have found myself backtracking through a whole level to find a flower missed in the opening areas of a stage.
What’s more, there is a noticeable lack of polish with Newt One on Xbox One. Specifically, in terms of floaty controls and boundary problems which I encountered a couple of times. Tight controls are important for a platformer to make the game feel fair and balanced and for the majority of the time this isn’t a problem, but it still appears as an issue more often than I would like. And when you then also consider the price, Newt One is slightly too expensive for an extremely short, unpolished, experience.
I have however appreciated the nature of the achievement list of Newt One on Xbox One because it ensures that you will want to complete the game 100% without any ridiculously tedious or time-consuming challenges. On the other hand, the game does have at least two glitchy achievements, meaning obtaining 100% on the achievement list, despite fulfilling both of the requirements for these achievements, is going to be a tough one.
Despite a few issues, I have had a good time with Newt One. There is no story to be mesmerized with, nor any extremely addictive gameplay, but the inner-collector in you that craves 100%-ing levels and areas will enjoy this short but musical adventure… especially if you’re into old-school 3D platformers.