Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World feels fresh and fun in Nintendo Switch remake
It is great to see classic games like this Mega Drive hit get a proper makeover.
Publisher Studioartdink has been beavering away for quite some time on a modern version of the 90s Sega blockbuster Monster World IV.
And the results are impressive.
Here we get a fantastic new 3D visual that has that modern console sheen, yet is still very 16-bit Japanese at heart.
The characters pop out of the screen in vivid new detail and the side-scrolling platform world is packed full of colour and cartoony design.
The remastered action adventure does not lose touch with its roots: the story, the middle-eastern inspired setting and overall design remain faithful to the original game.
But it all looks so fresh. If someone were to tell you this is a brand new Switch platformer you’d believe them.
And that’s a testament to the effort that’s gone into making a classic game feel new again for a young audience that perhaps has never even heard of Wonder Boy.
Your play as Asha, as before, and your quest is to free spirits that have been trapped and confined by the forces of evil.
The player has a cute blue Pepelogoo to keep her company on her journey.
The original creator of the game Ryuichi Nishizawa has had full input here and when he says “I’ve tried to make it enjoyable for everyone” you can see that love and attention on screen.
It’s an upbeat, vibrant and joyous game.
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But, as with any remake of an old game, it does come with an old-school sensibility.
So the difficulty level ramps up hard and fast and some modern, young gamers might find that more challenging than they’re used to.
Thankfully you can now save your progress much easier than before.
The puzzle elements are fun but often predictable, having been superseded in more recent years by your Marios of the world.
And the experience is quite linear whereas many modern games have increasingly swayed away from that to offer worlds to explore and choices you can make at your own pace.
And speaking of pace, it’s faithful to the original game and continues to have pacing issues around the length of some levels, which could have been much snappier.
At worst sometimes it can feel a bit flabby, more filler than all killer.
When it comes to your £35, is it worth a purchase? The answer is absolutely yes if the trailers, visuals and nostalgia of this game really appeal to you.
But while all its relevant parts are good, none of them really stand out among today’s very best.
So if you’ve only given this a passing glance when scrolling game trailers on YouTube and it’s not particularly floating your boat, be prepared for a decent player here but not one that’s going to dazzle you for months ahead.
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