Pepper Grinder (Switch) Review


Pepper Grinder isn’t a game about seasoning, but being a seasoned platforming pro couldn’t hurt with this tricky title! Created by indie developer Ahr Ech, and published by Devolver Digital (publisher of Hotline Miami and Fall Guys), this is the story of a treasure hunter, her drill and all the loot she stands to regain after being shipwrecked and robbed by pirate monsters.

In this unique platformer, Pepper grabs on to her newly acquired drill for dear life and cuts through stages like butter. As you traverse a stage you’ll find patches of terrain all over that you can dig through, enabling Pepper to stylishly manoeuvre towards the goal post, all the while grinding up baddies, collecting loot and solving some puzzles. Every few stages there’s an exciting new gimmick introduced too, like the grappling hook or machine gun drill attachment. And make sure to grab all five Skull Coins if you can, but stay on your toes. These are usually well-hidden or involve a death-defying stunt.

There are four worlds with four main stages, plus a shop, an unlockable bonus stage and a big boss battle at the end of each. Beat a level and you’ll be able to attempt the time attack mode for some neat unlocks. After nabbing enough Skull Coins and visiting the Curiosity Shop, you’ll also be able to unlock that aforementioned bonus stage, try some nice new hair ‘n’ clothes combos, or purchase stickers and backgrounds for your very own sticker book.

Pepper Grinder shares a lot in common with some of our favourite plaformers and oldies. It’s been stated that Ahr Ech was influenced by Dig Dug and Ecco the Dolphin, which is defintely apparent in the fluid digging premise and mechanics. But it also gives me a little bit of the drill power up from Sonic Colours, the barrels from Donkey Kong Country, and even some Mario World. And of course there’s the ever-present old school difficulty spike. The game really picks up in the last world, especially when back-tracking for collectables becomes trickier. Not to mention that final boss – jeez Louise.

There’s an excellent soundtrack too, put together by indie artist xeecee. I heard some  breakbeat, ambient, house and even a touch shoegaze, metal and hardstyle. I love me some variety!

Pepper Grinder is a great little title. I truly enjoyed my time churning my way through the sand and sea as this drill duo. And I usually prefer salt!

Rating: 4.5/5

The Good

+ Fun and fluid drilling action
+ An old school platformer vibe with some neat new ideas
+ Great soundtrack full of bangers

The Bad

- Difficulty spike in the end had me close to pulling hair
- The sticker book was cute but didn't do much for me

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Final Thoughts

Pepper Grinder is a great little title. I truly enjoyed my time churning my way through the sand and sea as this drill duo. And I usually prefer salt!

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About The Author
Sam Williams
Longtime Nintendo and Vooks enthusiast turned contributor. Full-time funny guy.

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