Widget Satchel Image
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  • Summary: You are Sprocket, an adorable ferret on a remote space station. Escape your playpen and make your way to the shuttlebay with the most stuff. Widget Satchel is a thrilling adventure for one little thief, with fiendish puzzles, joyous platforming, and dozens of hidden collectables. As youYou are Sprocket, an adorable ferret on a remote space station. Escape your playpen and make your way to the shuttlebay with the most stuff. Widget Satchel is a thrilling adventure for one little thief, with fiendish puzzles, joyous platforming, and dozens of hidden collectables. As you stumble deeper though the station evading your human caretakers, you steal things like widgets and socks. And you stash them, because you’re a ferret. Every widget you collect adds to the weight of your satchel, making it a little harder to reach the next platform or avoid the station’s maintenance bots. Stash enough widgets, and you can use them to fabricate doohickeys, which help you unlock new paths and previously out of reach areas. It’s a ferretroidvania! Expand
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  1. Nov 27, 2019
    6
    To get a more minor nitpick out of the way; there are far too many large frame drops for a game of such relatively low technical complexityTo get a more minor nitpick out of the way; there are far too many large frame drops for a game of such relatively low technical complexity running on the Nintendo Switch. I can't speak for PC, but this is a real problem on the Switch.

    With that out of the way, some pros:

    The level design in Widget Satchel is overall quite good; not the best, but very good. There are many possible paths through each area and rarely does one prevent you from backtracking to explore others.
    If you would like to, you can bypass most of the areas' challenges and complete the game in around an hour with relative ease. However, there seems to be upwards of 10 hours of content to engage with in a single playthrough if one so desires.
    An in-game achievement checklist is very much appreciated by Switch users who care about that sort of thing (me).
    Collectable socks are fun, but I felt discouraged from wearing any of them as they can be permanently stolen by robots with seemingly no option to recover them.

    And some cons:

    The camera is somewhat broken in places, as it often fails to pan in time to let you know of upcoming dangers. The "peek" function is largely useless in aiding this as in many areas it doesn't work at all.
    This problem is worsened by the controls; my personal pet peeve is the total lack of acceleration, made worse by the presence of a pseudo-momentum mechanic. You may change direction in the air instantly, but your resting air velocity is entirely based on the surface you were on before jumping; i.e. if you were on a platform moving left, you move very fast left in the air but very slowly right. It sounds okay in writing, but it feels very janky to play. Jumping is also odd, as you don't move in an arc as much as a slightly rounded pyramid, which cuts off immediately when you release the jump button.
    The primary resource is widgets, which can be found scattered and hidden around the map and are in limited supply. These are usually only worth 1 widget, and as you will lose 3 widgets each time you take damage from a robot it rarely feels worth the attempt, as the punishment for not getting it first time far outweighs the benefit of success. It is often impossible to make a single mistake and still walk away with a profit. The result of this, along with the core mechanic of having your movement restricted by the weight of your widget horde, is the game feeling as if it is discouraging the collection of its primary resource.
    Widgets are used at the end of each area to purchase upgrades (doohickeys) which allow for further exploration of all areas, and make it easier to collect widgets. This helps to increase the perceived benefit of collecting widgets, but in the early and mid game the disproportionate loss of making a single mistake while going for a widget can feel like you're being punished for engaging with the primary gameplay loop.

    I'll definitely play more of Widget Satchel to further explore the areas and try to find more socks, but my first playthrough was governed more by frustration at the mechanics and gameplay than by the signature metroidvania desire to explore.

    Overall 6/10, doesn't feel like they finished polishing.
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