Welcome Time Wasters!
This week I’m looking at 8-Bit Boy, again. That’s right. For the second week in a row I’m looking back at a new version of a game I’ve already reviewed (Check that review out here.). I first reviewed 8-Bit Boy back in 2012, but the developer claims that the game is 75% different from what it was before. Let’s find out if this is true.
In my original review of 8-Bit Boy, I cited the lengthy opening sequence for a simple story as a con to the game. This hasn’t changed in the new version of the game. 8-Bit Boy still has a simple story of a down-on-his-luck game developer heading downstairs to find a mysterious cartridge that transports him into a game.
As with my original review, I don’t have an issue with the writing style in 8-Bit Boy. However, I do have an issue with taking five screens worth of text to explain such a simple story. It really comes down to the game trying to put too much weight on such a simple concept. 8-Bit Boy should take itself less seriously rather than try to pull at heartstrings that aren’t moving.
When I first played 8-Bit Boy, the developer had this strange idea that hiding save coins in secret areas of the levels was a good idea. It’s not. This hasn’t changed in the new version of 8-Bit Boy. What has changed though is if payers want to deal with these save coins at all.
This new version of 8-Bit Boy has two different modes: Kiddy and Retro. Retro Mode is basically the original version of 8-Bit Boy that I previously played back in 2012. Kiddy Mode changes saving so that it’s automatic after every level, making the save coins obsolete. It also allows players more time to explore the secret-filled levels of 8-Bit Boy.
Kiddy Mode is a definite improvement over the original 8-Bit Boy, but I still have an issue with it. The description for Kiddy Mode reads “Autosaves after completing a level and you have more time for exploring. This mode is for the less adventurous.” The less adventurous get more time to explore? That’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one. And by the way, is it really a good idea to insult your players by calling what should be “Normal Mode” Kiddy Mode? No, it isn’t.
The developer behind 8-Bit Boy just needs to swallow their pride, accept that their original game was really flawed and stop pretending it’s a Retro Mode for “true retro hardcore gamers.” You want a game that’s for “true retro hardcore gamers”? Go play Alien Splatter (Seriously, you could throw this game on an NES cartridge and never pick it out as a modern throwback).
One area that I’ve definitely noticed some change in 8-Bit Boy are the controls. The original game’s controls were a bit jumpy and made navigating levels much harder than it needed to be. This has been fixed in the update and everything plays much more smoothly than it did before.
Another element of 8-Bit Boy that I wasn’t crazy about were the power-ups. These haven’t changed much from the original game. The first power-up is always a shield that grants an extra hit, the second is the ability to shot a single grape and the third is the ability to shoot two grapes at once. These power-ups are generic at best and the third power-up is just downright laughable. One change I was happy to see is that there is a higher chance of getting additional time from a power-up box after all the power-ups have been obtained. In the original game, players were almost always guaranteed to get additional coins in this situation.
8-Bit Boy is still filled with strange situations for instant kills. Water kills as soon as it’s touched, even if it’s only ankle high. Thanks, 8-Bit Boy, the last thing the game community needed was another joke about not bathing regularly. Sand is another example of a strange instant kill. This really confused me. 8-Bit Boy is obviously trying give a nod to the Super Mario games. However, whereas elements found in Mario games would only slow the player down, they lead to instant death in 8-Bit Boy. I said it before and I’ll say it again “spikes are an all around evil.”
Another issue I had with 8-Bit Boy is the inability to change the controls. Sure, players can switch back and forth between a keyboard and gamepad, but that’s it. This was really frustrating for me. Like most PC gamers, I prefer to use the WASD keys to control basic movement, but 8-Bit Boy only allows you to use the arrow keys.
The graphics in 8-Bit Boy haven’t changed since I first reviewed it. The game still looks like a generic Mario clone.
The audio in 8-Bit Boy is alright. Actually, it’s probably the best part of the game, which is really sad.
Overall, 8-Bit Boy remains the same second-string Mario clone that it was two years ago. The game isn’t 75% new and isn’t worth the $7 the developer is asking for on Steam. There are plenty of free 2-D platformers that do what 8-Bit Boy is trying for but better, and even more if you’re willing to spend some cash.
I stand by my initial score of 2 GiN Gems out of 5!