Switch version tested
Review code provided
8-bit action platforming is back again, this time with Venture Kid from Snikkabo AS and publisher FDG Entertainment. A day of collecting orbs on a distant island goes horribly wrong for Andy as Dr. Teklov unleashes his new weapon of “peace”. Thrusting Andy into a mad dash to stop him across 9 levels. The story in Venture Kid doesn’t go any further than that in what can be best described as a Megaman-lite adventure.
Players control Andy as he jumps and blasts his trying to defeat Teklov. The controls are a joy to handle. The platforming is precise and responsive. The world feels meticulously designed to know exactly where you will jump from and land as you breeze through what at first appear to be tricky situations. Defeating bosses, similar to the blue bomber and affords Andy with new weapons. These are quickly switched on the fly with the press of either the L or R button. This allows you to grab items that are just out of reach with the boomerang or freeze slimes to use a platform to reach elusive weapon bottles to power your secondary attacks. The pick-up and play nature lends itself well to this title making easily accessible to anyone who gives it a go.
While controls are up to the task the levels themselves fall short. Visually they are everything you would expect from a retro game. Unfortunately, they are sparsely populated. There is never a real sense of danger from the enemies as they all have a limited attack area and movement range. The boss battle themselves are largely just an act of pattern recognition or finding a spot the enemy won’t attack you which is easily exploitable on the first stage.
At the onset, you are given the choice to play in classic mode, which gives you the story cutscenes in between stages as well as adventure and survival. The adventure mode drops you onto the map allowing you to select where you want to start the game and play it your way. Survival mode is what you would expect. The player has one life and given random segments from the game to string together for as long as they can. At the end of each segment, you use a teleporter to start a new one culminating in a score based on how many stages you could survive. Upon completion of the main game, a Boss Rush mode is unlocked. Again, this serves and functions as expected.
On the audio side, VK went full retro bliss. Matt Creamer pumps out a soundtrack that can easily be confused with any 8-bit memory your mind can conjure. Sound effects are adequate if not an attempt at being Megaman. There is nothing stand out here nor does anything detract from the overall experience.
Overall Venture Kid is enjoyable. Even on the hard setting, the game doesn’t pose much of a challenge which lends itself well to younger gamers. This could be a nice entry level action platformer for those new to the genre. Seasoned gamers will find very little challenge or incentive to blast through this game shorts campaign (1 hour 40 minutes) outside of some baked in achievements. That said everything that is presented is done competently and the controls are to be applauded.
TBG Score: 6.5/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 02/05/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Action, Platformer, Arcade
Developer: Snikkabo AS
Publisher: FDG Entertainment
Download link: eShop