Developed By : Snikkabo
Published By : FDG Entertainment
Category : Platformer
Release Date : May 02, 2019
Venture Kid on the Nintendo Switch seeks to capitalize on most gamer’s collective nostalgic throwback : the NES. Building the game under the same restrictions and limitations that they would have had back then, Snikkabo and FDG put this game together in as much 8-bit glory as possible, hoping to recapture the essence of a gaming era from the past, and bring it back to the present.
You’ll step into the role of Andy as you and a girl with no name are collecting orbs on a distant island when a factory of some sort explodes. Injured, the girl is rushed to the hospital and while there, Andy reads in a paper that a Dr. Teklov is building a giant fortress in space with a weapon for “preserving peace”. Assuming that Teklov must actually be up to no good, he vows to stop his plan, when a man with no name steps into the room and hands Andy his latest weapon invention, and a promise to work on more.
I’m sure you’ve noticed the lack of character names, as well as the plot so thin you could market it as tracing paper. I implore you to remember, we’re nostalgically in the 8-bit era, so thin plots are what we’re made of. Venture Kid focuses it’s gameplay on some platforming elements, as well as some shooting, so it will rightfully bring some Mega Man fans a very familiar taste.
The game’s main campaign is broken down into nine different levels, each ending with it’s own specific boss fight. Through the levels themselves, Andy will have many places to walk and jump over, including some areas that will climb up or down to additional screens. All of the platforming is extremely simple, completely reliant on positioning and timing. Andy doesn’t gain an ability to move faster, or to perform wall or double jumps, so if you find yourself falling short of a gap, the only thing left for you to do is just practice and hope for the best.
You’ll deal with a fair amount of enemies in each level too. From what I noticed, these are specific to each level as well. While in the forest level, I saw spiders, bees, and some other stereotypical woodland creatures. In the castle I came across bats, rats and skeletons, while the city was loaded with lots of bikers and UFO’s. These guys down to any of your weapons, some of which can even shoot through the game’s walls and floors, but be wary because your enemies can shoot through those as well.
Bosses will be housed in a small arena-like area once you reach the end of a stage. Luckily, you’ll get a sign warning you that it’s approaching, as well as a decent health drop so you can go in being the best Andy possible. Just like in the old school days, these guys can be intimidating and tough, but they all have that “sweet spot” that you can find and not have to worry about them as much.
Venture Kid offers you a small handful of lives, but you’ll be able to find an extra one available in each stage, they just might take a little bit of work and/or luck to get to. There’s also some hearts to be found so Andy’s health can be replenished. He maxes out at four hearts (unless there was an upgrade to this that I wildly missed in which case I take full blame for not seeing it), and each hit you take from an enemy will remove one full heart. There are some traps, such as spikes, that will result in an OHKO (One Hit Knockout) so be aware of any of those around you.
Completing each stage results in a hard save point, and a new weapon from your unnamed inventor friend. Any weapons you collect will always remain in your inventory, easily cycled through in-game, and you’ll never have to go back and start all the way at the beginning, even if you completely run out of lives or even close the game completely. It’s a nice feature for players who love the style of gameplay but might not be the greatest at it.
Outside of the main campaign Venture Kid opens up your options with a few other game modes, including Adventure, Survival, and an unlockable Boss Rush mode, with the latter being self-explanatory on what it is. Survival gives you one life and challenges you to beat a number of randomly generated areas without dying. However, like I said before this game draws on some heavy Mega Man influences from the player perspective, and that’s where Adventure mode might be the most fun. In the main campaign, you must play through the levels in proper order, however Adventure let’s you jump around and play them in whatever order you like, just like the old classic Mega Man‘s.
Given the game’s massive draws on the Mega Man style, I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy this a whole lot since I was never a huge fan of the former franchise. However, as soon as I fired up Venture Kid on my Switch I didn’t want to turn it off. The enemies were simple enough, and the bosses were fun. As is typical with the genre, I felt that the biggest “enemy” while playing were some of the platforming areas. There were some areas that would seem to be placed exactly as far away as your jump was able to reach and you needed to nail it spot on. But again, it’s very typical of this old school platforming style, so as frustrating it was it just felt right.
Even if you’re not a fan of those games of long ago, Venture Kid is absolutely incredible and worth playing. With multiple modes to choose from, and even an achievement system, there is more than enough to do in this game for everyone, from casual platformers to completionists. So don’t hesitate, download your copy immediately.