Aloof – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade, Puzzle
Developer: ButtonX
Publisher: RedDeerGames, ButtonX
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Aloof – Review

Site Score
Good: Original vibe, Music, Does try to give a spin to the traditional gameplay mechanics of the genre
Bad: Sometimes a very haunting atmosphere for a puzzle game such as this, Does not feel coherent or finished at all
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s been a while since we last had a puzzle fighter in our hands. The most iconic ones in the genre are Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Puyo Puyo Tetris. Both games brought their own unique mechanics to the table and became very memorable experiences because of it. Nonetheless, we have seen many clones do similar things over the years, only to be forgotten soon after. We now have a new contender stepping into the arena, which comes in the form of Aloof‘s Switch version. The original game was already released on PC a year ago, but now we can take our puzzle battles on the go. Aloof is an original take on the genre, but we can’t say that this is going to become the next best thing.


Even though Aloof has an interesting visual representation, we have absolutely no clue what we are actually doing. Aloof features a cute animal protagonist, who finds himself on a boat in somewhat creepy environments battling odd creatures. We don’t know why, we don’t know how come he is in such a predicament, and we truly regret having no information whatsoever. This game could have stood out from the competition if it had a proper story mode.


We loved the graphical style used in Aloof. Sadly, we didn’t really understand the motivation behind the stylistic choice due to the lack of a plot. Most games in the genre are bright and colorful, while Aloof sports a more depressing tone. Nonetheless, the backdrops are neatly designed, the pixel-art is decent and the overall broody atmosphere is quite effective. Regrettably, there is not that much variation to be seen throughout the storyless adventure mode, which once again somewhat defeats the purpose of having that in the game.


The grim atmosphere is also very noticeable in the game’s sound design. The music is absolutely haunting. This doesn’t mean the music is bad, but it also makes you feel a bit uncomfortable at times, as you’re under the impression something spooky or bad is going to happen at any minute. This did make the soundtrack quite memorable and it even lingered a bit after turning off the game.


Aloof is a fairly original puzzle fighter game, in which you have several options of winning matches or ‘story’ levels. Most of the time, you’ll be able to damage your opponent with a combo of two attacks, which is done by piecing together two five-tiled connections in one single turn. This means that more than often making one connection is not enough to actually dish out damage. The game also offers the option of creating shapes that are shown during the level, which will also grant you a win if you can make these shapes before your opponent. The catch is that these shapes have to match the tiles exactly, and thus cannot be bigger. The latter proves to be quite tricky at times. The game contains several multiplayer modes, but there is no character selection and even in the versus mode it’s unclear if you’re actually fighting each other.

The game plays around with original mechanics, where your blocks don’t drop automatically, and you can even move them upwards again. You can also attach your blocks sideways to those that are already in place, making for interesting possibilities. Sadly, the game more often than not forgets to explain these things, and everything feels a bit obscure and clumsy. We don’t know why, but the game tries to take a minimalistic approach to a lot of its content, making it sometimes even unlikeable. We struggled with certain things the game apparently wanted us to do, while at the same time we were just mindlessly doing the same thing over and over again. We understand that the latter is typical for the genre, but we missed the same arcade approach in Aloof as we are used to from other franchises. Aloof tries to be original, and achieves this in a certain way. Sadly, the game opts to leave out a story, even though something is clearly happening at the top of your screen, but at the same time, the game then ignores a possible ‘arcade’ appeal as well. Because of this, Aloof floats around in an annoying nothingness, as you really want to know what it’s all about. We also have to mention that the menu design is horrible and the different modes all do the same thing, albeit in a different level format. We have no clue what the actual difference is between the available modes.


Even though Aloof is a bit messy in terms of menus, controls, and creating a coherent whole that makes any sense, the developers have done their best to differentiate their game from popular household names such as the ones we mentioned above. The game has a few original mechanics present and the overall gameplay is enjoyable. That being said, we regret the lack of a proper story mode or any proper frame for what is happening on our screen. We would have loved a bit more meat on the bones of this one, and a few extra layers of polish.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Aloof - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Aspiring ninja.

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