When it comes to game creation, players around the world find different outlets and avenues in order to take their vision and share it with others. More often than not, people turn to the PC to accomplish this: development languages are plentiful, resources are cheap if not free, and hosting has several wonderful routes, from direct downloads to itch.io and the fabled Steam Storefront. To be honest, though, sometimes you want to narrow your field in order to get noticed. For some, developing – the very act of creating – is a wonderful game and challenge unto itself. People who go out of their way to install Linux on every conceivable surface or port Doom to their smart refrigerator don’t do it to turn a profit: they do it to see if they can, and to prove that they can. For SmileBoom, a fantastic little studio out of Hokkaido, Japan, the challenge was to create an insular environment that was both familiar and a bit out there for would-be developers. The original creation, SmileBASIC, was a sleeper hit on the 3DS, bringing together a small but fanatically dedicated fanbase. Now, the story continues as SmileBASIC4 lands on the Nintendo Switch in the West, and the results are absolutely mind-blowing.
For those who are unaware, SmileBASIC is a game complier and program creator/editor that’s inspired a bit by the classic BASIC language, though with some obvious alterations and additions to both give it a more contemporary power layout and to help factor it better to a console-only approach. People who have experience working with multi-line coding will have a leg up in becoming acclimated to SmileBASIC4, though people who are completely new to the experience don’t need to be overly shy. Through a series of very helpful and well displayed tutorials, players will be able to learn, bit by bit, how to properly create their very first programs within SmileBASIC4. Sure, there’s going to be opportunities to print text, display colors and simulate chiptune music, but the additional commands means easy mapping to the buttons of the Nintendo Switch (and, in truth, to Nintendo hardware in general: more on that in a moment). There are commands to activate the rumble on the Joycons, which is a surprisingly in-depth addition that players will really appreciate. Additionally, the tutorial, which is cleanly localized, makes it easy for players to understand how to use the much larger line display to overlap code lines for sprites, music and maps to all live in harmony. One only needs to take a look at some of the spawned programs available on the 3DS to see the full extent to what could be created, and there’s good news: quite a few of the old programs made can and will, with a bit of tweaking, work on SmileBASIC4. Keep in mind, the level of tweaking can be case by case.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Replay Value - 9/10
User Review( votes)
SmileBASIC made me feel like I could create anything, or at least cheer on those who create everything.