Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, a game where you work together with friends to defuse explosives, is now available on the Nintendo Switch. Porting the game over to Switch makes all kinds of sense. In fact, I’m actually more likely to carry around the tiny, hybrid console knowing that I’ve got the game installed.
Development of Keep Talking started in 2014 as a result of the Global Game Jam. The original version was a virtual reality title, custom built for an early version of the Oculus Rift. The premise is simple: One player dons the VR headset, becoming fully immersed inside a dimly lit room. On the virtual table in front of them is an elaborate bomb. Players then use the controls to manipulate modules on the bomb, inputting codes and clipping wires before time runs out.
Trouble is, they have no idea what they’re doing.
The instructions on how to defuse the bomb are in the hands of another group of players who are outside of VR. The Bomb Defusal Manual is freely available online, so you can have it open on your phone or printed out on sheets of paper. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check out a video I made with the Polygon family over Skype a few years ago.
Since 2014, Keep Talking has transitioned from VR to the desktop, and now finally to modern consoles where you can play it with a controller and a regular TV screen. The new version for Nintendo Switch more accurately approximates that original VR experience. The tiny screen on the hybrid console not only makes the game highly portable, it’s the perfect prop for such a tactile experience.
My only issue is that the port doesn’t make use of the Nintendo Switch’s touch screen. Tabbing through the different modules on the bomb is simple enough, but spinning the whole kludge around in 3D would be a lot easier if I could just swipe at the screen. It also narrows the audience; folks without much experience playing console games will likely have a tough time working the thumbsticks.
But all you need is one or two people skilled enough with the controls to do the work. Then it’s pretty easy to bring in anyone and everyone else to help read the manual. The Switch port transforms the game from an exclusive, cumbersome VR experience to a true party game.
My recommendation? Pick the game up now and load it onto your Switch. Then, over Labor Day Weekend, bust it out at the neighborhood barbecue or at the vacation house. I think you might be surprised what members of your family show up to play.