Over-the-top action title Bayonetta and its even more ludicrous sequel are enjoying a fresh lease of life on Nintendo’s Switch console. We’ve been smashing ten bells out of aggressive angels on the move, for this full Bayonetta 1 and 2 review.
Returning to Bayonetta again after all these years is just like cosying into your favourite armchair with a delicious beverage, wearing nothing but your skimpies. It just feels so good that words seem an imperfect way to describe the experience.
What is Bayonetta?
If you’re yet to subject yourself to this utterly bonkers series, then you’re in for a treat. Forget about serious plotting, deep characterisation or meaningful gameplay. Bayonetta is all about cranking everything up to eleven and having a bloody blast.
First up, you have the hilariously ridiculous cutscenes that (knowingly or otherwise) parody every other action extravaganza out there. These are followed by breakneck sequences where you punch, kick, smash and blow the living crap out of everything in sight. Imagine Devil May Cry, except fifty times more snort inducing.
Take the very first sequence in the original game. Most fighting titles would start you off with a simple one-on-one battle against some random weakling, to teach you the controls. In comparison, Bayonetta begins with you gunning down dozens of vengeful angels as you all plummet earthwards on a crumbling clock tower. It’s a breathtaking introduction and one which sets the scene perfectly.
Does Bayonetta work on the Switch?
Controlling this over-the-top action is perfectly comfortable on the Switch. You can unleash all manner of super-violent combos using the thumbpad and four face buttons, while the right stick shifts the view as usual. If you want to, you can even swipe the screen to battle your foes, although we preferred the old school method. Anything else just feels wrong.
Those combos are just as satisfying to pull off as ever. With dozens of them packed in, chances are you’ll immediately stumble across a few that you love. In this way, even novices can look like seasoned Bayonetta fans as they twirl, kick and administer some serious pain. Plus, with guns attached to each limb, you can unleash a combination of short and long range attacks without any real effort.
Bayonetta’s graphics look fantastic on the dinky Switch screen, even though the game has aged somewhat. Some areas feel rather empty until a bajillion enemies invade, although you rarely need to linger in one section long enough to notice. Likewise, some of the textures and graphical effects are a bit dated. Yet you only tend to notice when the Switch is docked and you’re playing on the big screen.
On that smaller display, we did occasionally struggle to see what the flip was going on when things got super manic. Nothing that a little crazed leaping can’t solve, however. And even on the dinky screen, those boss fights still felt suitably epic.
Can I play Bayonetta with friends on the Switch?
The first game has no support for multiplayer sadly. However, Bayonetta 2’s Switch port does introduce the Tag Climax mode, where you can join forces with another player. The co-op mode either works locally, via WiFi, or online.
In summary, this is a straightforward translation of the first two Bayonetta titles, which work fantastically well on the Switch console. What’s more, they’re hitting stores in a timely fashion, with the third game set for a 2018 release.