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Run the Fan

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre: Strategy
Developer: Silesia Games
Release Date: July 23, 2019


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Switch Review - 'Run the Fan'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 5, 2019 @ 12:15 a.m. PDT

Run the Fan is a game that requires strong strategic planning, as well as quick reflexes and precision.

Third-party exclusives don't really happen on the Nintendo Switch. Yes, there are games from third parties that appear on the Switch and not on Microsoft or Sony consoles, but they usually have a version on the PC either at the same time or a few months before. There are even a few instances when that game debuted on phones before making the Switch their first console destination. A true, Switch-only game is a rarity, and Run the Fan happens to be one of those titles on that very small list.

The premise will remind you of titles like Pipe Dream. In Run the Fan, you control a metal ball stuck inside a circuit board field. A spark of power comes from the power supply and runs through some of the traces. However, those traces are disconnected at key points. Your job is to guide the ball to those broken points and act as a bridge so that the spark can keep going and eventually make it to the fan to start up the machine you're in.

You aren't guiding the ball directly, though. Instead, you're controlling the board similar to a labyrinth. There are no holes to worry about, but the components inside your space act as walls, so you can't really tilt the ball in a freeform manner. Once you get to a spot where you need to create a bridge, you can hold down a button to hold the ball in place, which also has the added effect of speeding the spark along its path. Should you fail to reach the spot to make a bridge and the spark hits a dead end, the level ends in failure, but restarts are instantaneous.

That's all there is to it, really. The concept is simple enough to understand, and the difficulty curve is steep enough where it'll be challenging without being impossible. Analog sensitivity is just right, but the game also takes advantage of the accelerometer on the Joy-Cons to make things more immersive in portable mode. It is certainly more difficult to control this way, but the option is welcome for those who want it.

There are issues with the title but nothing that could be considered damning. Run The Fan has a decent clip of levels, with over 50 of them split into three stages. The drawback is that the environment changes aren't going to be that noticeable. With the exception of the level layout, everything starts to bleed together after a while. While having over 50 stages makes for a good-sized campaign, there's not much to the game beyond that. You can't replay the game at higher difficulty levels, there's no multiplayer, and there aren't any leaderboards or extras to unlock. You can forgive the game for excluding this simply because it is so affordable, but it is noticeable.

For a title like this, the presentation just needs to be good enough, and that's exactly what is accomplished. The menus are bare-bones, and the font reinforces the game's budget nature, but it isn't necessarily terrible. The insides of each PC are rendered fine, with good details being shown off, but this isn't anything that would be considered taxing, so there's no chance of the solid 60fps frame rate tanking. As for the music, it works well as background noise, but don't expect much beyond that.

Run the Fan does a good job of running with its concept. It's a simple game in execution, and it may not be the flashiest title, but it provides some good challenge without feeling impossible. It may not have anything beyond its campaign mode, but the level size is decent, and the fact that there's no other puzzle game like it on the Switch makes it intriguing. Given the title's very low price of $4, puzzle fans can enjoy Run The Fan as a good appetizer leading up to meatier puzzle fare.

Score: 7.5/10

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