Earthworm Jim 2 Review

This is one of those games where I can’t say that I knew a whole lot about it but I definitely knew the name. Earthworm Jim is one of those names that just sticks around in your mind from start to finish. You can’t forget it because it’s just way too intense. The game lives up to the hype and is definitely a blast even if the ending starts to get a little on the crazy side. Certainly a very difficult game as well.

The game starts off with Jim on another adventure to save the princess or at least I think she’s a princess. Along the way he has to fight with a lot of different creatures. Get ready for some big plot twists by the end too. This is not a game that spells everything out for you. At times you will really have to connect the dots on your own and also decide how real the ending is. Personally I like to think the whole ending is completely real and just how it appears to be. It’s an ambitious way to end the game and I can definitely approve of that.

As for the gameplay, it’s Fairley standard for a shooter. You blast away at your enemies and keep on moving. Your ammo may not always be great but you slowly recover some if you’re ever totally out. I recommend not wasting your ammo though as it is extremely useful for every part of the game. You don’t want to be running low against a boss or you’re really in trouble. You have different kinds of guns around here too so try and learn how each one looks and feels. The best one is the machine gun style but all of the guns are useful for something or another. Mainly you also just can’t to be good at jumping and dodging so you don’t just eat every attack. Do that and then you’ll really be in a jam.

One level that gave me a lot of trouble is the final level so here’s something to keep in mind about that. You have to stay ahead of your opponent at all times here or you lose. If you make it to the end of the level but he was first then the level just ends with you being stuck until you run out of health. So you have to move really quickly here and it cost me a ton of tries to get that far. Trust me, it definitely was not easy at all especially because you’re never given any indication that the rules around this level were different than the rest. Seriously it just comes out of nowhere which makes the whole thing a bit surprising.

Aside from the gameplay, the soundtrack and graphics are all solid. This is what I would call the complete package because it looks and sounds good while also being a very satisfying play. It’s hard to go wrong here. It’s aged incredibly well for the SNES, you could probably get away with thinking this could even look like an N64 title. Throw in the fact that it had more of a real story than the others and it really seemed to be ahead of its time.

I’m a little surprised there weren’t more 2D platformer shooters back in the day. I suppose Mega Man cornered the market there but they always tend to be a lot of fun and satisfying. This one just proves that even more. It’s probably the last Switch Online game for a bit but I was definitely thrilled to get a chance to play this one. Hopefully the console keeps on updating with more and more solid games. Who knows what other gems are hiding out there just waiting to be played!

Overall, Earthworm Jim 2 is definitely a solid game. I had a lot of fun with it at least and the title really embraced how crazy the whole thing was. It was definitely not trying to be your average shooter game. I’d really be down with a remake of this game at some point. There’s a whole lot you can do here for the future. Some of the gameplay mechanics should be explained better so you aren’t walking around in circles or anything like that but those are easy fixes to make. (Finding out how to open up the flowers to throw around took me forever!) Pull that off and you’re in a good spot!

Overall 7/10

Claymates Review

Claymates is the next platformer in line and this one always looked like fun. You get to turn into different animals and run through a variety of levels. Who wouldn’t enjoy that for a while right? Well, it’s a good game but one that is limited by some questionable decisions like a whole bunch of puzzles that you have to play through. Cut those out and this would be even better if you ask me. I guess we do have to roll with it in the end though and it’s still not bad. You should be able to have some fun with this one for a few hours.

The game starts with the main character being turned into clay by the villain who kidnaps his father. The lead must now master his abilities before it’s too late. The gameplay here is your classic 2D adventure as you have to run through and take names. You get to the end of the level and then you’re taken to the hub world where you have to clear a puzzle and then start the next level. There are 4-5 worlds to conquer here and each one has a few levels. It’s not a particularly long game but I would say that some of the levels can be a bit longer than what you might be used to. They aren’t always linear too so sometimes you will have to go backwards.

It’s not one of those games where you can hold right and go all the way until you beat it. You will actually have to change directions at times and the game won’t hold your hand so bring your best. Any big mistakes can definitely cost you some time like some teleporters that take you back to the beginning of the level. Now those are really hard to deal with so make sure you dodge them as best you can. The 10 minute timer for each level is generous but you still want to try and minimize how often you have to go back and replay portions of the level right?

Each animal form has a different attack/ability although all of the offensive moves tend to work the same way. One of them has a projectile instead of a close range attack which is good. The others mainly alternate between bites and scratches so you’ll have the same effect. You can also run really fast in these forms. 9 times out of 10 this will cause you to get hit but it’s still fun to just run all out real quickly. It temporarily feels like a Sonic game that way.

So the gameplay is a lot of fun and I don’t really have any issues there. The platforming parts are handled well and with care. The plot is also pretty good and the cutscenes we do get help to show their personalities better than the titles with no cutscenes. It’s not a lot or anything like that but every bit helps. So that’s taken care of but the biggest tricky thing here are the puzzles between levels. Basically you have to help navigate 2 robots over to the end where they can use a bomb or a hammer to get rid of the obstacles. You can’t move the robots directly so you have to move obstacles to guide them there. At first they are fun enough but as this goes on you end up needing more and more complicated ways to move them which can be a bit tedious.

You’ll make it through eventually but once the puzzles start taking longer than the actual levels you feel like it’s gone too far. It just doesn’t make sense since the main gameplay is presumably why you are here in the first place. Also, I seemed to get caught up in a glitch near the end of the game where one of the cars vanished so I couldn’t use it to manipulate the robots. That felt really cheesy especially since I was so close to the end of the game. Sure, there’s probably a way to fix the glitch like going into an old level and completing it again but I didn’t know that for a fact and wasn’t sure I wanted to go back and replay anything.

So instead I figured that would be where I ended things. At least I did save the father so I ended up beating most of the game. Perhaps it wasn’t 100% but it was close enough. Glitches just take the fight right out of you. I want to assume it’s a fairly rare one though so hopefully you shouldn’t be affected by it if you decide to play the game through. Then you can really enjoy it.

As for the soundtrack and graphics, those are good enough. The game’s got a good amount of energy going for it and you can tell they put some effort here. Visually the game holds up quite well and the music was catchy enough from what I remember. So in the end this is one I could recommend as long as you have the Switch Online. It’s free that way so you may as well right? While the puzzles take away from the fun, the actual levels are crafted well and the length also isn’t bad for the SNES. The transformation gimmick works well. Between Kirby and Jelly Boy it seems like I’ve been running into that a whole lot lately.

Overall, Claymates is an interesting game with a fun premise. A modern remake with some more dialogue and cutscenes would absolutely be a full win if you ask me. Just keep those puzzles out of this and focus on it being a platformer. Let me speed through the levels like I did here but maybe give some opportunities for me to run without being hit. It’s not like Sonic has the exclusive copyright on going fast so lets get this job done. Bring back the big villains and boss fights to make the whole thing feel authentic. We’ll see if the next SNES game can beat this one but ultimately I would say this was still a good title. It gets the job done, glitch or not.

Overall 6/10

Jelly Boy Review

Jelly Boy is one of those games that very easily could have been a really good one. Instead it made the big mistake of trying to force collectibles onto you instead. Let me tell you, that was not a good move. By the time you finish the first world you’ll need to turn back and nobody wants to do that. It’s a bit sloppier than other platformers but I wouldn’t call it a bad game. You’re just not likely to go back and finish it.

You play as a little Jelly guy and can go around punching your opponents. Along the way you can turn into a variety of items like a hammer which will certainly keep your opponents on guard. This helps to ensure the gameplay is always adapting since you’re never in any one form for too long. Turning and jumping can be a bit more on the annoying side here but you do have some features like the rewind to help with that. It’s not exactly Mario in terms of how smooth the game is, but few titles are right? It’s not exactly a knock against the game because nothing should be expected to go toe to toe with Mario like that.

As mentioned earlier though, the biggest issue here is really the fact that I could not get into world 2. Seemingly this was because I didn’t have the piece of the puzzle from every level but they’re really hidden. I only happened to come across one of them so the rest are probably buried deep into the levels. This really goes against the concept of a platformer in the first place since it’s supposed to be a very calming experience where you have fun with the levels and keep it moving. By giving you something to look for, the game is no longer than leisurely experience you once craved. Quite a few platformers seem to make this mistake.

Now the graphics are good at least. I thought they did a good job with the artwork for each of the characters and the color schemes as a whole. The game looks good even though it’s so old. The soundtrack is also okay. Nothing super memorable but it is catchy enough and so the game flows rather well. On a technical aspect I do think they did their best here and you can tell that some effort was put in.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this one. It’s always fun to play the more retro games but in some cases like this one, it just reminds you how far we have come. Nowadays a game like this would probably still be a little bit better because either there would be more of a real story or the gameplay would just be smoother. This one hasn’t aged particularly well and that’s probably why you wouldn’t have heard of it before Nintendo announced that it would be in the next online wave. A title like this just would not have stood out for very long at the toy store. Not when you had bigger titles always coming out to overshadow it.

Now if you could remove the collectibles and tighten up the gameplay a bit, then I think this would have really had some potential. The gimmick of turning into objects and other people is one that would work really well. Right now that’s still a big thing like how Odyssey let you control others with the hat and Kirby would transform in the latest game. People like to have different gameplay styles and that’s where Slime Boy would come in. Who knows, maybe one day they will make a sequel or a full remake. The odds seem slight but you never know.

Overall, Jelly Boy is okay at best. You can see some promise in the game as you go through it but it just made too many mistakes and that’s why this one never hit it big. The biggest thing to remember is you never want collectibles to be mandatory. Perhaps there was another reason I couldn’t get into world 2 but if there was then that’s just as bad because there was no indicator of that. All in all, it just means that accessing the rest of the game is more difficult than it should be. You’ll probably want to avoid this one but if you need a new platformer to check out then I suppose this one will do the trick at least for a little while.

Overall 5/10

Balan Wonderworld Review

Balan Wonderworld is a game that got fairly infamous right after it came out. People had been expecting the next big thing but instead the game turned out to be a very sloppy production on all sides of the ball. Due to that I was able to find it for a really good price at 6 bucks though so was it really as bad as all that? In a lot of ways it is. There are some areas here where you see some potential but on the whole this just isn’t a good game and I can’t imagine dropping $60 on it. I’d be feeling pretty sad at that point.

The game starts by showing us two kids who are not having a good day. They end up getting taken into Balan’s world and now they have to help various people who are dying or have fallen into the darkness. They can do this by defeating the evil monster personified through the person and collect some statues along the way. Can the kids manage to achieve eternal peace or are they just doomed at this point?

Now the game doesn’t have much dialogue at all so this is my interpretation here but you can probably look at things a bit differently as well. Balan has an archnemesis running around who is causing these nightmares and monsters to appear so we have to take him down for the count as well. Along the way the kids learn what it means to have a good time and enjoy themselves. The game is clearly trying to have a moving story but without voice acting or better cutscenes it is just hard to get that across. At no point will you be particularly interested/engaged in the story. It just never pops out at you.

I really think of the game itself as Ninjabread Man but with a bigger budget. The actual platforming is even a bit weaker than Ninjabread Man, good luck on some of the jumps here! Balan Wonderworld’s main gimmick is that it’s a one button game. At no point in the campaign do you need to do more than press one button. That’s it. Whichever button you press allows you to jump or use whatever ability your costume has. It makes this game rather easy to master of course but there will be less depth within the title as a result so it’s really a true tradeoff.

So in each level the objective is to get to the end but you also have to try and grab some golden statues along the way. Each level has 7 gold statues and you want to average around 3 when you complete a level so that you don’t get stuck. That’s because every world has a statue requirement so if you beat the level without getting enough statues then it will definitely come back to haunt you. I never particularly appreciate having to go and grab collectibles so that didn’t do the game any favors either. The game also does everything it can to slow you down.

For example, some statues are only obtainable for a short potion of the level so if you miss it or beat the minions too quickly then it will disappear. Others are locked in areas that you can’t reach without a costume that you would unlock in a future world. As a result the game is really just doing its best to waste your time or at least it feels like that a lot of the time. The collectibles really were regrettable. Then you have eggs and gems you can grab in the level but they don’t do much of anything. I suppose they help you construct the clock tower in the hub world but there’s no benefit to doing so aside from a trophy and that takes a while.

You just sort of stand there and let the minions build the tower which gets old very quickly. It should have been a more active experience where you get to jump in and everything. The levels and bosses may have some annoying parts but ultimately the platforming gameplay is not terrible. It’s basic but you can have a calming experience just running around at some points in the game. The final boss was not developed well though. There is a glitch where if you bump into the final boss you end up losing all of your lives immediately and have to replay the whole climax from the start. Not a great look if you ask me.

Because of that the final boss took me more tries than it should have. Now I will give the game credit for having decent graphics. I thought all of the screens were colorful and the character designs were on point. There were actual cutscenes which is good and the main villain had a great design even if he couldn’t really manage to do anything. At no point do you ever think that he is a threat to Balan. Why would you when Balan humiliates him over 20 times before you reach the end of the game?

Each level has what are called “Balan Bouts” where you get to beat up the villain through some quick time events. Much like the rest of the game this is a section that has potential but is dragged out way too much. You have to go through the whole sequence in every level and you have to get a perfect score to get the gold statue. Mess up the sequence at all and you may as well close your eyes for the rest since it doesn’t matter. Each cutscene sequence is rather long and drawn out which doesn’t help matters either.

That brings me to the cutscene that plays after beating each boss. There are like 3 songs that cycle over and over as you dance with the characters. The character models do the same drawn out dance each time with the only changes being the character models. It feels rather lazy and if you want to do a celebration after each level then you have to make it quick or iconic. Kirby is an example of how you do this really effectively. It’s short enough where you find it fun rather than repetitive. I’ll give the game some credit for having a real soundtrack filled with songs here but the whole time you just know that it could have done better so as not to make you tired of the songs.

As mentioned, there is just a whole lot of things that went wrong here. Ultimately it’s fair to say that one of the biggest problems is how the game just goes about wasting your time. Having to re-enter a level to grab a statue if you messed up the Balan bout is pretty bad. The statues being required to enter each world is unfortunate and so when you beat the game and unlock a bunch of new levels there is no anticipation on you side. There’s no drive to go and complete the levels because you just aren’t interested enough. Obtaining the platinum is very achievable but it’s a time consuming one so I don’t see myself going back for it anytime soon.

Overall, Balan Wonderworld is about what I expected if not a little worse. It’s really known as a bad game and when a title drops in price so drastically you know that you have to pick it up. Ultimately I would say it’s a little better than the reputation. I mean, it’s not good but it’s not all that bad either and so I’d put it in the middle. You can absolutely play this for a while as a way to pass the time but there are countless platforming titles that are better which you should spend your time on instead.

Overall 5/10

Kirby and the Forgotten Land Review

I knew as soon as they announced this Kirby game was coming out that I would need to buy it day 1. I’ve been waiting a little while for the next Kirby game and while I may not be caught up yet..I’m close enough. Outside of the first 2 levels, I ended up playing the whole game through in one batch. Not to say that it’s super short (Took around 5 hours) but Kirby games are not usually known for length or difficulty so it wasn’t all that difficult to do. It does speak to the enjoyment levels of the game too.

So the story starts with multiversal Kirby walking around when some kind of hole in reality appears and sucks everyone inside. Kirby’s now in a whole new world filled with vicious beats and monsters. He has to help this little blue creature along the way as he finds out who did this and how he can possibly get home. Will Kirby be able to get out of this in one piece or is it curtains for him?

In a way you almost would think this is still Planet Popstar if you skipped the cutscene because the first world definitely has that classic Kirby feel. It’s a green forest kind of planet that has an upbeat feeling to it. The level designs are all on point and there is a lot of variety here as we have the classic water planet, fire planet, etc. Each world has 4 levels and then the boss at the end except for the second last world which has 5 levels plus the boss and the final world which only has a boss. So you can see how you can go through the levels pretty quick.

I did die twice to one of the last bosses though. That one was deceptively tricky as it’s tough to dodge the ballerinas and the big guy’s spin move. Your best bet here is to rely on your quick dodge which is R2 and then pressing A at the same time. I didn’t even know about that until near the end of the game but it’s quite handy. There is an easy mode too but I recommend sticking to Wild. Having a little bit of a challenge is always a good thing and then you can really appreciate the bosses.

The gameplay is your classic 3D adventure. You can’t really spam Kirby’s flying too much though. The game developers probably figured you might cheesing the whole game so you can’t go too high and still have to use the ladder. You have over 10 copy abilities you can use though and each one can be evolved twice. You can even power them up further beyond that which is handy. Obtaining rare stones can take a little while but you will at least get enough to evolve everything by the time you complete the game.

I highly recommend focusing on the fire blast ability. It causes lasting burns to the villains which means that you are dealing constant damage even when you aren’t attacking. The ability is extremely useful. I would say they all mostly are but I didn’t care for the spike ball much. It tends to lag behind the other abilities in terms of how useful it is but you should still try to get used to it since you will need to use it for treasure road.

So it’s time to talk about the replay value here. Don’t mistake a short campaign for a short game as Kirby has tons of modes to keep you busy. Aside from the main levels you have Treasure Road which are a series of 8-10 challenges in each world. If you complete them then you will be awarded a rare stone and these are how you power up your abilities. You also earn extra gold to buy things with. Completing all of the challenges will buy you some time. Each one’s about a minute or two but there are a lot of them.

Then you have the tournaments. While Meta Knight sadly misses out on the story, you get to fight him here. He was reasonably tough even on the intro level so I imagine the more difficult tournaments could get crazy difficult here. You shouldn’t underestimate them and this could absolutely take a while. Finally you have the collectibles of which there are a ton. There are 300 Waddle Dees here and a ton of trophies. I’m assuming you unlock some kind of bonus content for getting everything so that’s some incentive to keep going for.

There’s also a bonus world for the post game here. It directly continues where the main story ended so you won’t want to miss that. The levels are considerably longer than the normal ones and have more parts so you should go in prepared to really give it your all. At the time of this review I’m still going through the post game so I look forward to seeing how it all goes. Between all of that, this game will take you a long while to achieve 100% completion that’s for sure.

The graphics are naturally top tier here. All of the characters look sharp, the designs are great, and as I mentioned the stage designs are really quite nice. You feel like each world is different and it doesn’t feel like they’re reusing levels. No corners were cut here. The soundtrack is also fun. There’s no theme that quite matches the classic Nightmare theme but it’s hard for anything to top that. There is a lyrical song that plays twice in the game which is fun but it would have been especially good to have had something in the climax too.

Kirby games are known for really getting out there with the climaxes so you’re probably wondering about this one right? Well, I can safely say that it does go high tier. You don’t have to worry about that here. While I was underwhelmed with the big villain’s design initially, the super form makes it all worth it. You’ll certainly raise an eyebrow when you see the villain’s official title. A certain Sega villain will immediately come to mind. There’s always a lot you could do with Kirby lore and while this is not that kind of game, I’m always glad to see any kind of big plot climax like this. It works well and helps to really make sure you don’t forget this one.

Overall, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a pretty fun game. The story could have been longer but even at 5 hours it’s still a bit longer than Sonic Forces and Star Fox Zero so Nintendo’s still got the lead there. I’d like to see a proper 15 hour Kirby game some day as long as they can get to that length naturally and without forced collectibles. This game had a good amount on that front as you need to get some, but not enough where you feel like you have to go out of your way to grab them. The game’s fun enough where I went back and beat most of the treasure levels and am going through the post game so it succeeds there. I would definitely recommend checking this one out. You may want to wait until there’s a price dip but this is Nintendo so you may be waiting a very long time. In that case, just take the plunge and have fun here. You won’t be bored, that’s for sure.

Overall 7/10

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory Review

Maximo is a game that I sort of just bought on a whim. It showed up when I was looking at various PS2 platformers and I figured it’d be a good pick. The gameplay is solid and there’s a lot of interesting things here but also some gameplay mechanics which have not aged well. Ultimately I would call this a very good game but you should be warned that it is also a difficult one so this will not be a cakewalk.

The game starts with King Maximo running into the treasure room but he’s too late. Achilles has taken over the kingdom, kidnapped all of the princesses and then murders Maximo. Fortunately the Grim Reaper isn’t a big fan of how this all turned out so he decides to help Maximo. He will prevent the lead’s soul from leaving so he can keep coming back to life. In exchange Maximo has to take Achilles down for the count. Honestly it’s not really a bad deal. Maximo wants revenge either way so now he’s ready for action.

The gameplay here is that of a classic 3D platformer. You can double jump and slash at your enemies. Along the way you’ll get different equipment like a shield that you can throw and elemental additions to your sword so you can fire some energy blasts. The weapons aren’t breakable per say but they run out eventually. For example, you can swing your fire sword 2 times before it turns normal and you can use your shield for around 20 times before it vanishes. SO you have to use your techniques wisely.

Now here’s the first main change to the average formula. You start off in a level and then have to get to the end to clear it. There is no save option within the levels, only when you get back to the hub world or when you defeat a boss. Sometimes that means you will have to defeat several areas in a row before you can save. Also, saving costs 100 coins which can actually be a little difficult to obtain. Throughout the levels there are power ups and equipment you can buy but you should always skip those and just save up for the save points.

Save whenever you can because you never know when you’ll lose. The game is deceptively hard here. Sometimes what looks like a simple jump can take you out of the running. If you fall into a pit or lava it’s an instant death even if you have 3 health bars. This is definitely the worst mechanic here. It just adds a lot of extra stress to the levels when you really just want to calm down and keep it moving. It does force you to get really good at the controls though because replaying areas is always rough. So just go slow.

Most enemies you can outrange so hit them as they approach. I never figured out how to hit the bomb enemy without taking damage unless I have a shield though. Making any kind of contact with him ends up hurting you too so you have to really decide if this is what you have to do. If you can skip the enemy then you probably should. The bosses can be tough to learn to you’ll also want to take your time there. For the final boss you really just have to focus on your reaction times. Don’t try and chase the opponent or you’ll always be behind. Instead wait until the attack is coming through and then quickly counter.

I have to give a special shoutout to the final boss because it’s executed really well. The screen goes dark and all you can hear is your heartbeat as the creature gets closer and closer. It’s the kind of boss you would expect in an Alien or Resident Evil type game. The horror elements worked out quite nicely here. In general the bosses had a good amount of effort put into them.

Another gampelay element I should mention is you will obtain many temporary power ups as you defeat enemies and go through the levels. You keep them until you lose a life. There is an exception to this though and that is that you can put some abilities into a locked slot so they stick with you. For example you may start out with about 4 locked slots and 14 normal ones. As you beat each boss you get a new locked slot. You’ll always be losing some abilities when you lose but make sure you are always transferring the best abilities to the locked slots so that you don’t lose them. It’s really handy to always know that you’ve still got the best tricks at the ready.

The story is pretty solid here. I would have liked some more cutscenes to be honest but we had full voice acting a lot of action going on so I was still engaged. There’s even the solid cliffhanger at the end that gets you hyped for what is to come next. They didn’t really spare anything on the budget here without a doubt. The soundtrack is less memorable since I can’t recall a single tune. I guess it all just blends into the stages but I would consider that to be a knock against the game.

The graphics are really good and those have certainly aged well. Maximo is very much a game that encourages exploration so it’s fortunate that it looks good. It would be sad if you were travelling around and every area looked the same or something like that. It may not have been a massive blow but I’m always glad when the graphics are on point. There isn’t really a lot of replay value to be found here though. Once you beat the game there is really not a lot to do so make sure you have fun on the playthrough. I wouldn’t say the game is very long either but you should be able to get it at a good price. Plus the difficulty will probably make it last a bit longer.

Overall, Maximo is a fun game. The title is challenging without being too frustrating. If you try hard enough you can certainly beat any level. I just think that the save feature should be after every level. Additionally it should not cost money. That mechanic doesn’t add anything to the experience and just holds the game back. There are tokens you can get to obtain more continues but even that is more tedious than just doing it normally. So if this game was being used as a test for a new kind of saving system then I can say that it didn’t work for me. I’d stay with the classic saving methods. If you are prepared for a challenge and want to play a solid platformer then I definitely recommend this one.

Overall 7/10

Vexx Review

Vexx is one of those platformers from a million years ago that nobody has really heard of. It should have become the next big thing but ultimately just couldn’t make it that far. While the gameplay can be really fun at times, there are some clear issues here and I suppose those were just big enough to keep this from being rated higher and selling more. Having more cutscenes would have also done wonders for the game if you ask me.

The game starts off strong as we see the villains show up and take over the world real quick. Vexx being forced to work in this cruel world where the villains currently rule. He ends up revolting after the villains murder Vexx’s grandfather. Vexx will need to uncover a bunch of demon hearts in order to put an end to this but will it really be so straight forward? Why does he have these incredible powers, why is there a witch who seems to be in the way and why is this old man so eager to help Vexx? All of these questions will have to remain on your side for a while as the game only has a few cutscenes in the whole game. For example, after that intro there is not another cutscene until very deep into the game and then you get some for the ending.

This was a bit of a missed opportunity as the intro hinted as a grand plot. It was going to be daring, emotional, and dramatic. Instead you are left to quietly play through the various levels until you get to the end. There are some good levels here and I’ll get into that in a second but the story ends up being more of a bust. There is a cool cliffhanger for the sequel at least but that’s probably never going to show up anyway. I mean, we have been getting a lot of revivals lately but I feel like Vexx would not be at the top of the list.

Gameplay is the most important part of a platformer though right? So lets get into that. The game is modeled after the Mario style, I would even say Mario 64 in particular. You have the various portals that lead into different worlds. Each one has between 8-10 hearts in it and when you get one, you are immediately taken out of the level. (Mario Odyssey did well to change that) You then go back in to get another one.

The tasks for the hearts are all different. Some come from beating a minigame, others are for finding collectibles, and then others are just scattered around the world. Ideally you want to grab around 7 of the hearts in each world so that you don’t have to backtrack later on. You only need 60 out of the possible 81 hearts in the game to reach the final boss so if there is a heart that you are having a lot of trouble with, I would say not to worry about it too much. Just keep on going to the next one and you’ll be just fine. I thought this was a good way to handle the collectathon part since you never feel too stressed as a result.

My favorite parts of the game were the minigames as they felt like something out of Mario Party. You could have made a good multiplayer mode out of that without a doubt. There aren’t many in the game so you should saver them. For the actual platforming, the jumping and combat are both good. Combat could be a little more balanced but you can cheese it in a lot of ways that save you time so it’s something I don’t mind overlooking a bit. The camera angles are certainly the weakest part here. It will sometimes just randomly change so you end up falling to your doom.

I think the game is a bit stingy with how it kicks you out of the levels the whole time. It’s rough to have earned 80/100 of the eggs only to be thrown out of the level because you cleared another mission. It’d be nice if you could just stay in the world after you got a heart and keep on going because some of these levels are long so getting 100 eggs can take a long while.

As long as you go with the hearts you find easiest for your particular style then I expect you will be progressing through the game at a fast rate. The toughest part of the game by far is the final boss. You have to beat 3 phases of the boss in one shot as losing at any point sends you to the beginning. The boss plays out like a beat em up as you have to fight numerous opponents and it seems partially luck based with how RNG the super fast fireballs are. That boss took forever to beat and I wouldn’t love to have to fight him again. My biggest tip is to defeat the hordes by doing constant jumps and striking the ground below you. Don’t try to fight them head on. For the second phase, don’t move. Let the boss circle you and only jump when he’s about to attack. You have to strike the head and then go to the back and flip him over and then strike from the top. You have to do this several times so good luck. I don’t expect you will be completing this battle on the first try, far from it.

Either way you can see the potential behind this game. Mix in a better camera and some quality of life updates and this really could be like Mario 64 or Mario Sunshine. The game’s really going for that angle with with a wide range of levels to choose from, I would say it succeeds for the most part. What holds it back is that some of the hearts are more annoying than fun and losing sets you back so long in some of these. Mario always ensured that every level was fun even if it took a while. SO if we get the level designs a bit more polished then this would be ready for the next level.

The graphics are also good here. I liked the designs and the worlds had a lot of uniqueness to each one. The attacks look good and the game just holds up well here. Then you have the soundtrack which is solid. There are quite a few solid tunes within the game and they have that old school rock feel to them. Something that I always like to see in any game.

In terms of replay value I guess there’s a bit. You can try to get the two bonus suits in the game which give you fire and thunder abilities. They are even needed for grabbing some of the hearts. I just couldn’t figure out where to find either one of them so I was glad that I could skip those missions. Apparently the fire suit is somewhere in level 1 but I ran around that place for ages and never saw it so I wonder where it is. As you play through the game the hearts get a bit easier since you know what to expect so maybe the same would have been true of the suits if I could have found at least one of them.

Overall, Vexx has good gameplay but it could have been better with just a little more polish. Throw in more of a story mode as well and that would have really been a winning combination. It’s a shame that it couldn’t be better but in that case I probably would have played it years ago. The platforming genre is one that always has a lot of competition so if you aren’t first then you might end up being last. You can get this game for a fairly cheap price so I would say you should make a play on it. It’s still worth the price and I had fun with it. The game is fairly short at well under 10 hours long but that’ll do the job.

Overall 6/10