Call me what you will but I can’t resist a good sale, and that’s what lead me to purchase this title. Having never played a Wonder Boy game, I based my judgement on the look, the price, and at the time I was about to review Monster Boy. Developed by Lizardcube, Dotemu is the publisher that brought Wonder Boy to the Switch. Let’s dig in.
How does it look?
The comic book style is used for the foreground, while the background is filled with a moving watercolour palette that looks stolen from a painting. This entire game could be turned into a comic book series no problem. Character animations for the lizard when quickly turn right to left is accurate and comical. If you pay attention you’ll see tiny birds on top of buildings with their own little animations. There is a lot to take in and no detail is spared.
Gameplay is a different story entirely and takes on a simple role from the start. With some forward momentum that difficulty increases but with cheap combat. I found myself in what looked to be glitch territory but I’m honestly not sure. At one point an enemy shooting green gasses just kept moving me back with no way to get out of it and I was pushed against the wall defenceless.
Knockback from enemies will take a toll on your patience as one hits you into another and you’re stuck in this ping pong damage game. That can get pretty annoying. Each death is a game over that will bring forth a gamble to return to the game but so far I’ve never won. Return to the main area with no checkpoints, bummer.
Lack of checkpoints are frustrating
I get to this awesome looking shogun area and of course, it was over the river and through the woods. Get a handful of areas deep and either the ninja stars or someone got the best of me and game over. Back to the main area, I go again because I ran out of blue potions to revive me after the death blow. Did I mention there is no map? You’d better remember every location and weird-looking block that a new character may be able to destroy if you change to them and return to all those spots. The back and forth is too much for me and takes away a lot of fun.
Boss battles grow more and more unforgiving with each fight. The first couple are pretty cool but the following battles you had better make sure your gear is upgraded. Blue potions would be a plus to have but those are randomly picked up by defeating baddies. Fall prey to a boss and where do you end up? You guessed it, the main area to start over again.
The music is great, it ranges from soothing to playful, to downright fancy. It’s pretty impressive but often overshadowed by annoying or frustrating gameplay. It honestly gets boring and drawn out to hit an enemy and wait for their bounty to shoot above their place and fall to the ground, only to do it four more times to sequential enemies. Collecting coins and bags so many times gets old quick and it must be done a lot to get the good armour. They also disappear fast if you don’t go after them immediately.
It’s pretty cheap that as the lion in the underground, flower fireballs can be shot and be on the same level I stand on yet they hit me.
Controls are simple and fine
Jump, attack, special item, and menu. Responsiveness to turning left and right I only had an issue with when turning to block an enemy shot which often failed. In these times I wish I could buy a health potion or at least load up on blue potions. I’m currently in an area that I can’t go back to the previous screen to kill respawns to fill up my health. Aaaaaaand game over back to the main menu I go.
This is a game that just, doesn’t click for me. You can say I’m bad or whatever you want but I don’t care for this game and I don’t vibe with its puzzles. Scrabble posted a video that helped me get through the last quarter of the game and for that I’m grateful. Wonder Boy is part of my backlog and I’ve started a mission to clear it. Thanks to him, I’ve begun that journey and will have more reviews as a result. Subscribe to his channel. A big part of his help came from a sword that changes your characters form with a jump and some button-pushing. Where did the game explain this? NO IDEA!!!!
The cheap knock-back, stun, get whooped back and forth from both sides is cheap and awful. Lack of map and checkpoints makes the cheap gameplay even worse and unforgiving. I did not enjoy this game and would not recommend it to my friends.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo
Release Date: 18/04/2017
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Adventure, Platformer
Download link: eShop