Where to start with this nostalgic masterpiece from GrimTalin? From the moment you load the game up to the time you complete the dungeons you are thrown into an era where gaming was evolving at a great pace.
This throwback to times gone is a nice break from the current AAA’s dominating the market and is a refreshing platformer to pick up and play.
The game starts us off with an original title screen; it gives you the opportunity to explore different graphics styles from gaming consoles from the past (albeit they have been named somewhat differently in this title). Not only do you have the choice of textures, but under each option there is a story of the game’s development path… Well, maybe not entirely fact-based but it certainly is a fun story to read through. How this story progresses through the different consoles and era’s is a great read and really gives a bit of depth to the game. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the scenario.
After choosing your preferred graphics/texture style, the game throws you straight into your chosen dungeon (one of the two that you choose from). The premise of the game is to take your character through all the rooms of the dungeon collecting enough coins/gems to progress to the final platforming boss-room to get your hands on that glorious prize at the end.
To achieve this, you are tasked by exploring all the dungeon to discover the hidden coins and gems. Coins can be found floating in the open or hidden in breakable jars – I was quite annoyed with myself that on my first run-through I achieved 119/120 coins; where was it hiding!!
To get the coins you either have to traverse through the room in an old-school platforming style, where pinpoint timing and jumping will be your only saving grace, or you will have to navigate to an ammo pickup to use your gun to shoot the breakable vases to get the coin hidden inside – be warned, you only have a maximum of two bullets at any one time so use them wisely! Luckily, there are ammo pickup’s in strategically placed areas meaning that you should never be too long without ammo. Another point to note, not all vases have coins in!
The gems you are tasked with finding are much rarer in the dungeons with only 8 available to find in the first dungeon. These gems can be found in hidden treasure chests throughout your exploration and they are much more difficult to obtain than your standard coins, this being because you must traverse multiple puzzles just to get to the treasure chest.
The puzzles and platforming sections in the game are great; whether you are making a perfectly timed jump over a ball of spikes or jumping and shooting a button in the air, the mix of puzzles keep the game fresh enough for prolonged plays.
If I was to find fault, it would be that the jumping is difficult to master – your character just about fits into some areas; meaning that when you jump and hit the roof you abruptly start a descent back to the floor. This is not necessarily poor controls or physics because in games from the past this was exactly how a lot of platformers were played – but it is certainly frustrating, especially with how much easier a majority of platforming games nowadays are portrayed. I personally enjoy the challenge though!
The games sounds are perfect, it really brings you into the era that you are playing – the portrayal of an old-school game needs the retro sounds to go with it and the developer has delivered well on this part. I have little to criticise in this area, and thoroughly enjoyed the GameBoy-esque sound effects accompanying my playthroughs!
The achievements on Xbox are well thought out, some will come as you play (for example there is one for solving one of the puzzles by shooting a button whilst falling to your death), whilst others will take a bit more skill and familiarity with the game – looking at you ‘Pacifist’. This variety keeps you coming back to achieve more and more Gamerscore. You can probably achieve a good chunk of Gamerscore from just a single playthrough, but the game is enjoyable enough to keep going back and attempting the other, more difficult, achievements – I will complete a playthrough in under 40 minutes… Honest!
All-in-all it is a brilliantly rounded retro-styled platformer and is one that is definitely worth picking up! As stated above, there are points that are going to frustrate you, but to me, this is part of the nostalgic charm that I was accustomed to with old-school platformers. It is highly enjoyable and really grips you for wanting to keep going back for more. This is a game you can play for an hour or spend several hours playing through – it really is that good! I would have enjoyed a little more ‘story’ or ‘depth’ to the game, and more dungeons would be welcomed! I look forward to more from this developer. A solid 8.5/10
A copy of this game was provided by the developer for the purposes of this review. The thoughts, comments and opinions in this review are that of the author; having no affiliation with the teams developing or publishing the title.