Welcome back to part 2 of our Remake Roundup feature looking at redo’s of the classic 1985 turtle-smashing game Super Mario Bros.
Last time around, we looked at some pretty straight-up remakes that, for the most part, took the original formula and merely spruced it up with better graphics or gameplay elements, but kept things mostly the same.
This time around we dive deeper into the abyss to look at games that take the original Mario concept and start to alter it in more interesting ways. There were no hard rules on what fits for this round, but I generally looked for games that added something innovative but kept the implacable Mario spirit.
You have to win the game… Again! Minimalist indie classic You Have to Win the Game was a sweet little hit back in 2012. If there were an alternative universe with a DOS-based 286 metroidvania, this game would have been it. It was one of the first games I posted about, and I loved what it managed to pull off with the otherwise eye-gouging CGA graphics limitation.
At some unknown point, YHtWtG moved onto Steam, and then added a bunch of new features including an equally lovely EGA mode, boasting a whopping 16 colours! It also includes more difficult remixed campaign and a playable cat character, you know, for people who are into that sort of thing. And best of all, it’s still 100% free (note: there’s a $1 option on Itch.io if you want a permanent Steam key, which is otherwise not available for free games.)
Nightkeep is, well, as its indiegogo page puts it: “an action RPG platformer inspired by such classics as Castlevania Bloodlines, Demon’s crest and a variety of JRPGs” – yes, please. Ture, it’s yet another retro-style game wearing its influences strongly on its sleeves, but the demo here is polished enough in its own right that Nightkeep looks to be shaping up to serve an interesting mixture of platforming action.
Let’s face it, Bowser is horribly incompetent. The number of times his plans for world domination have been thwarted by a overweight plumber from Brooklyn should be enough of a signal to call it quits. But what if Bowser… teamed up with Dracula? That is very the question Mariovania answers.
Die, Bowser! You don’t belong in this world! Not quite the same ring to it, but just go with it.
Actually, considering Drac’s similarly lacklustre record, actually, probably not a whole lot would be different. But the combination of Mario platforming and Castlevania stlye exploration works surprisingly well.
One of the core drivers to starting this blog was to unearth and share unassuming freeware games that don’t get much coverage elsewhere. To some degree we’ve done this; at least – you won’t find many of the games we cover on Gamespot or Rockpapershotgun, but the rabbit hole goes a lot deeper… and its time we started digging into our vault a little more. I present: Hyuke Kigyouden, or, in its more easy to pronounce form: Ragnarok.
An obvious Castlevania inspired indie effort, Ragnarok isn’t going to provide any surprises at first glance, and even though it probably won’t dethrone indie stars like Cave Story or La Mulana any time soon, it’s an interesting enough – if still formulaic – take on the formula.
Was hoping to get out some more detailed looks into some of the 400+ entries into GBJAM5, but well, ain’t nobody got time fo dat and all that (not for lack of want though, I’d rather be playing through each game and writing about them here than working -ed). Here, at least, are a couple more tasty desserts from the GBJAM5- some choice selections from an admittedly fine menu.
The appetizer is a challenging action-platformer featuring ever Ninja’s favourite weapon, followed up by a main serving of Slug-shooting arcade action, finished off with some classic football-infused dungeon exploration. Yes, really. As a bonus supper, I’ve also included a rare treat: a Gameboy style beat ’em up.
For all its ups and downs, if anything else, Kickstarter has at least allowed the creation of some ambitious demos – and when these demos provide a few hours of solid, old school style gaming joy, I can’t complain. The Andromeda demo does just that.
As you’d expect from a demo, it’s a bit rough around the edges, but it’s a fully playable and enjoyable “NEStroidvania” throwback that will easily consume a solid few hours.
Welcome to the Remake Roundup! Here we take a look at an unsuspecting old school original and roundup a tasty smattering of new retro remakes.
In this edition we take our first look into the terribad Action 52 – a notoriously horrible compilation of games (if you can call them that), packed into one cartridge for the bargain price of $200. Proving that no compilation of games is so horrible that it can’t be remade, we dug through 23 remakes to see if even the worst of gaming history can truly can be redeemed.
There seems to be a dearth of new freeware releases or new retro news these days, luckily that’s where the New Retro Vault comes in! We’ve unearthed this C64 game made in.. 2009. Knight ‘n’ Grail is, as far as I know, the first and only metroidvania game for the ancient computer, and it’s pretty good.
Set in the midst of a cold war, we’re dropped into the middle of a missile crisis and, wouldn’t you know it, Snake wasn’t available. Instead we send a princess to do the dirty work. Luckily she’s more than happy to grab a blaster and vapourise the various aliens, blobs and walking cannons scattered around the place, which makes up for the lack of David Hayter in this platforming military adventure.