Decay of Logos, at its heart, is a plucky, independently developed third person action-adventure aspiring to fill the behemoth sized shoes left by massive hits like Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and Dark Souls. It’s easy to see those inspirations in the game, utilizing the enemy respawns at checkpoints similar to Dark Souls and the vibrant colors and dungeon puzzle solving similar to the iconic Zelda series. Undoubtedly, Decay of Logos on the Nintendo Switch has a vision and goal in mind, but unfortunately it falls well short of the mark in terms of execution.
Decay of Logos is packed full of ambitious and interesting mechanics, but it’s certainly a shame that nearly all of them feel so poorly implemented and broken that it makes the game a slog. The most egregious example of which is undoubtedly the mystical elk companion that the developers themselves say is intended to be the core of the gameplay. The elk companion is used as inventory management, a solution for puzzles, help for traversal as a mount, and occasionally a partner in combat. The only issue is that, at least in the Switch version of the game, the elk companion is frustrating and unreliable to a point of hindrance.
In my time with the game, the elk was missing a majority of times, rarely came when called upon, frustrating to use as a mount, and a test of patience to get in position for a puzzle solution. The inventory management aspect of the elk was difficult to use, as when my character found something new the elk was nowhere around and I would have to make a decision about which gear to leave behind. It was simpler to leave the elk alone due to the frustration that ensued in trying to make it useful, but the issue would always rear it’s antlered ugly head when Decay of Logos required the use of the frustrating elk.
Elk related issues aside, there are problems abound in the gameplay mechanics of Decay of Logos. The player character has an internal meter of exhaustion and if you do not sleep at the designated save points often enough her stats will diminish and ultimately lead to her hits being half as strong and her defense lowered. The exhaustion mechanic wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but it seemed like your character never stayed well rested for very long and the rest locations were spaced fairly far apart.
Functionally, the mechanic felt like a permanent stat de-buff that ranged in intensity. For example, I rested at a save point then ran across the area to a puzzle location only to find out I didn’t have the required items, but in checking my inventory I noticed my stats were already de-buffed due to exhaustion. This seemed to greatly hinder my willingness to explore, which is one of the pillars of the game’s design.
Decay of Logos prides itself on a hands free exploration that tosses the player into the world and tasks them with figuring out things for themselves. Whether or not this is a positive is a matter of taste and experience with the genre, as there are games that can pull off a hands free model exceptionally well. However, Decay of Logos would greatly benefit from some more player guidance due to some confusing map designs that will often have the player running in circles, without so much as a map, looking for items to complete puzzles.
These are deep mechanically intrinsic issues I have found in the game and it only gets worse from there. The Nintendo Switch port of Decay of Logos is severely broken in ways I’ve yet to see on the system before. I could rattle off my laundry list of bugs and glitches all day; I took a hit from an enemy and the game lost sound, I paused the game a few minutes while my Switch was docked and the game ran at an abysmal and laggy framerate until I undocked and re-docked, I tried to use a healing item and I lost all ability to move my character, I fell off a platform and was stuck in the falling animation inches from the ground. The list goes on and on and is frankly unacceptable for a game claiming to be out of beta or early access.
The most heartbreaking part of all of these issues is that when you play Decay of Logos, it’s clear to see the intentions and the artistic flair the developers bring to the table. The game has a striking crisp style paired with a moody atmosphere and thought out world that’s built by exploration and interaction. However all of the faults quickly pile up and make the game a true test of patience that unfortunately make it nearly impossible to recommend to anyone, especially the Switch owners who have an added amount of bugs and issues to contend with. Only the most masochistic gamers with an overabundance of time on their hands should willingly attempt to tackle this beast.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
An Under-Cooked Adventure
Decay of Logos is a neat idea chock full of missteps and bungles that tasks the player with fighting off a variety of bugs, glitches, and design choices in addition to the in-game enemies.