[Review] SEGA AGES Fantasy Zone – Nintendo Switch

Written by Kevin Orme
  • Developer: M2
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Release Date: 01/23/2020
  • Price: $7.99 / £5.99
  • Review Code provided by SEGA

Is This The Real Life?

No, this is just Fantasy (Zone). All jokes aside, this is a pretty cool game. But before I talk about it, I need to talk about my history with SEGA.

Specifically, the lack of it. I had a friend back in middle school who had a Genesis, but I never had a lot of opportunities to play it. Sure, I played the classics: Sonic 2 and a little bit of VECTORMAN, but I never got very far into the library that it had to offer. So, for me, having something like SEGA AGES come along is nice! It’s a way to experience some of the bigger titles that SEGA had to offer without having to either download a ROM or two or hunt down the console and cartridges. So, without further ado, let’s talk about Fantasy Zone.

Look Up To The Skies And See

Fantasy Zone is effectively a side scrolling shooter like a lot of games of its kind back in the 90s. You shoot enemies, dodge bullets and pick up coins that come out of said foes. The main difference from most of those games and Fantasy Zone is that instead of being a long stage culminating in a boss, the stages in Fantasy Zone are short stages that wrap around. However, with a wrapping stage, you might be wondering how you complete a level if it never “ends” per se. In every stage, there are ten specific enemies that you have to defeat in order to summon the boss. The rest is pretty straight forward. Defeat the boss, move to the next stage and so on. The big gimmick in this game though is that each “target” enemy and group of enemies drop coins. In every stage there is a shop where you can use these coins to either improve your firepower or your ship’s movement speed. The firepower is improved for only a minute or so, but your movement speed is good for as long as you stay alive.

Something cool that I liked about this game as well is that the amount of coins that you accrue in any given playthrough, whether you die or not. This amount of coinage can be used in your next play through to help you get the better power ups faster.

A REMIX FOR THE AGES

Now, if you haven’t been following the AGES series of games, you’ll know that each release comes with some sort of unique mode for the original game. In this case, we have what they call “UPA-UPA” mode. In this mode, there is no shop to use in any stage, but rather all of the weapons and bombs in the game are available to you at all times via the L and R buttons. The catch in this situation is that using bombs and upgraded weaponry uses coins PER SHOT. So yeah, you can get the screen clearing 7-way shot, but it’ll cost you two hundred coins a shot. Combine that with a turbo fire button and you can say goodbye to all of your hard earned savings. It’s fun and it’s absolute insanity. Well worth your time.

Escape from Reality

Let’s get one thing straight here. This game is WEIRD. Not bad weird, but very Japanese-Katamari-Damacy bizarre. The enemies are zany. The bosses are crazy and the bullet-hell aspect is very much a Japanese arcade-y goodness. I love that Fantasy Zone is something unique instead of what felt like hundreds of clones of three good franchises. It’s unique and fun and, more importantly, memorable.

Pros

  • Endlessly replayable
  • Fun and Crazy
  • Rewarded from playing a lot

Cons

  • Things get a bit crazy on the screen
  • Hitboxes are crazy

Verdict
SEGA AGES Fantasy Zone is great. A solid entry in the AGES line of games and I think it’s worth it for a fun time. Support this if you have the chance, especially if you’re a SEGA fan.
3.5/5

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