Not long after the bizarrely-named and pretty dull card game Physical Contact: SPEED made its way onto the Nintendo Switch eShop with little fanfare in July, other than a weird and slapdash trailer, Collavier is at it again with a similarly (bizarrely) named sequel of sorts, this time focusing on the number puzzle genre.
Despite sounding like a science fiction spin off movie, Physical Contact: 2048 at least has a tiny bit more correlation regarding its title, as this time round you are presented with a 4x4 grid and start out with a pair of tiles, each bearing the number 2. Pressing one of the direction buttons will shift all the tiles in said direction, only for another to appear. Upon sliding (or 'placing') two tiles of the same number on top of each other, they double in value and change colour. From 2-4-8-16 and so on.
The objective is to reach a certain score before all of the grid is filled. If any of this sounds familiar, that's because the format is pretty derivative by this point, especially on iOS. Breakthrough hit Threes! and even recent Nintendo Switch contemporary Levels+ have remarkable similarities in gameplay, yet Physical Contact: 2048 has not only failed to adopt any of the elements which push the aforementioned to the front of the portable, time killing queue, but is one of the best (or worst) examples of lazy game making.
The flaws found in 'prequel' Physical Contact: SPEED are immediately apparent again, because this later release copies and pastes most of the same assets.
The iffy localization, the same oddly eclectic avatar jpegs of varying resolution, the same 'not so leaning tower of Pisa' used as the fighting game style progression, the same soundtrack, the same drab presentation, interface and bare bones options - score within a certain time (from 4 options) in Arcade and two player, with achievements thrown in. The controls are the same, too; use the left Joy-Con to move the tiles and that's your lot. At least there is a bit more emphasis on player interaction, if nothing else.
It's a game that can have varying degrees of strategy and skill, yet the gameplay still comes across as uninspired. There is a sense of satisfaction stringing together combos north of 64, and the later levels reach pretty hefty score targets, but there are plenty of deeper and much more polished experiences available on the Switch store.
To the uninitiated, it may kill an adequate amount of time due to its familiarity and the Nintendo Switch's local multiplayer-focused hardware, but any redemption 2048 has over its predecessor in terms of actual fun is eradicated due to the general production values and quality of its presentation. While the derivative tile puzzle gameplay is solid if unspectacular, dragging and dropping all of the avatars, skins and menus across from SPEED gives a good idea of the quality on offer in presentation. The merits of the Switch hardware with this format also can't rectify the lack of modes, slapdash interface or general lack of imagination on display - a disappointing title all around.