Nintendad

[Review] Wonder Boy Returns Remix – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: CFK
  • Publisher: CFK
  • Release Date: 23/05/2019
  • Price: $14.99/ £8.99
  • Review code provided by CFK

Mistaken Identity

Before June 2016, I had no clue what Wonder Boy was, other than the name of a Tenacious D song. Then, June 2016 happened, and we are shown a modern day take on Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. After this, the Wonder Boy series started becoming relevant again. People began talking about this series and now, here we are with the remake of the original Wonder Boy game. This is where the story gets confusing. As I said, I didn’t know about this game, but I knew about Adventure Island.

For those unaware, Hudson Soft gained the rights to publish Wonder Boy for the NES in the 80s and changed the game slightly and renamed it Adventure Island. So, for those of us who may not know Wonder Boy from the arcade and Master System, may know Adventure Island. Now, fast forward thirty some odd years and we have CFK’s redesign of the game that started it all.

In Wonder Boy Returns Remix, you take control of Tom Tom as he fights to save his girlfriend Tanya who was kidnapped by an evil demon. Not much story is provided in this version, which is a remixed version of the 2016 released Wonder Boy Returns. That version includes a cut scene at the beginning of the game explaining why Tom Tom is setting out on his adventure. It also includes new elements created just for the 2016 version: new levels, enemies and giant bosses.

The version reviewed here does not feature any of this new content for reasons beyond me. It is just a more cut and dry remake of the original Wonder Boy. Although it does feature the ending of the 2016 version, it doesn’t make sense as the final boss of Returns Remix is not the boss featured in the ending.

Where’s the Wonder?

The gameplay in Wonder Boy Returns Remix is extremely solid. It feels very reminiscent of it’s early arcade and console counterparts. As Tom Tom, you go through 32 levels of classic platforming action full of running, jumping, and throwing axes. This aspect of Wonder Boy feels so good. There are also new additions to the gameplay that make the game a bit more manageable, such as being able to charge your axe and break through certain barriers, making the platforming sections more enjoyable. I will state that about half-way through the game, I felt everything became easier and I started to fly through levels. I’m not sure if it was the difficulty curve levelling out or if I was finally just getting the hang of it.

This game offers three different modes of play, the first being a very beginning friendly mode, Tanya. In this mode, you play as Tom Tom’s girlfriend, and she is invincible except for fall damage. This is a great inclusivity addition as it allows younger gamers or people that want to just experience the game without having to face the challenges. It also allows for a level select option if you do succumb to fall damage, allowing everyone the option of being able to finish this game.

The next mode is simply called Tom Tom. It is the standard difficulty level, you face normal enemies, bosses and you are not invincible. This mode also allows for a level select feature and this is extremely helpful. Unless you are a pro at Wonder Boy, you will more than likely lose enough lives to see the game over screen a few times. The last mode is called “One Coin” and it gives you only ten lives and once those are gone, its game.

Wonder Boy of Many Colors

I genuinely loved the art style for Wonder Boy. The bright colours and cartoony style lend a sense of ease to what quickly becomes a challenging game. I really do like the style CFK chose as it recreates the original art style but making it fresh and exciting. I can understand that some people could be put off the cute child-like sprites and assume this game is for small children. They would be amiss though, as this game still offers a sufficient challenge.

The music in Wonder Boy offers fun remixes of the original music that are infectious melodies. I often caught myself humming them more than once. After a while though, the music tends to get repetitive. The song list is rather limited, and after 32 levels of the same songs, it does get stale. As for the rest of the sound design, the effects were basic, but that’s not a bad thing. Nothing in them was jarring or took you out of the experience.

Das Wunderkind

After spending a decent amount of time playing in both docked and handheld mode, I am pleased to report that Wonder Boy runs smooth as butter in both modes. I preferred to play this game on the big screen just to see more of the beautiful art style. In my 3-4 hour play times, I experienced no hiccups, glitches or slowdowns.

Final Thoughts

Wonder Boy Returns Remix is a game that I was excited to finally experience as the Wonder Boy hype has been building. Upon completing this game, I feel that it is bittersweet as this was not the game I was expecting it to be. I did enjoy it and I want to appreciate it as a testament to the origins of a series that is slowly becoming a favourite of mine. The simplistic level design does leave room for improvement as a once challenging game can quickly become easy.

Pros

  • Solid Gameplay
  • Beautiful Art Style
  • Catchy Music

Cons

  • Quickly Becomes Repetitive
  • Cut Content
  • Final Levels Become Too Easy

Verdict

Wonder Boy Returns Remix is a flawed game that can be fun for a few hours but loses luster quickly.

3/5

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