Pepper Grinder (Switch, PC)

Pepper is an adventurous girl who gets shipwrecked, and pirates steal her treasure!  Luckily she finds a drill that she can use to bypass obstacles and defeat enemies.  Anyone remember a Game Boy Advance game called Drill Dozer?  It was made by GameFreak, who also made a game series you might know of called Pokémon.  Anyway, Pepper Grinder kind of reminds me of that game mixed with some Dig Dug style fast action.  It’s also a 2D platformer for Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

Pepper can run and jump, but her movement is pretty limited by herself.  But when you turn on her drill by pressing the R2 button, you can quickly dig through loose dirt, and that’s where most of your movement will come from.  When you come up from the dirt, you’ll move in the air pretty high, and if you press the B button to dash, you’ll go even higher!  You can also defeat enemies with your drill as well as swim in the water.  There are also machines you can attach to your drill, like keys, blasters, cannons, and even giant robots for you to pilot!  You can also press the Y button to use a rope to grapple certain objects and swing around them.  Scattered about the levels are gems and five hidden coins.  You can use gems to buy stickers you can place on pages for fun, and the coins let you buy different colors of hair for Pepper, as well as sticker sheets and keys to open hidden levels.  The game as a whole reminds me of the challenges you might find in other 2D platformers like Donkey Kong Country.  Each stage has some unique gimmick that’ll keep you engaged and on your toes.  I also like the retro styled 16-bit graphics.

I did have a few problems with the game, though. Play control felt a little loose in areas.  And with only four worlds with a few levels each, it’s a bit short as well.  The stages are challenging, but I managed to get through all the main levels.  But the last boss is way too hard and I couldn’t defeat it.  Only reason why I got past the first form was a bug kept it standing still one time, but the second form was nigh impossible for me.  It’s still one of the better indie games I’ve played in a while, I just wish that last boss wasn’t so hard!

Kid Factor:

Pepper Grinder is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  You drill through enemies that explode into pixels when defeated, and that’s it.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

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