I love retro games. Love them or hate them though, they’ve paved the way for what has become today’s video games. Often times hard, often times frustratingly cheap in design, we pushed through these experiences back in the 80’s and 90’s. What’s great to see over the last 10 years or so is the revival of these games. Games that try to recreate that feel but in today’s market. Sydney Hunter is one such game and I’m happy to report it brings all the feelings of old school titles along with some great modern convenience.
The plot line is simple enough, Sydney Hunter is exploring ancient temples when he gets trapped in one. A Mayan calendar shatters and he has to return the pieces to escape. Soon it’s up to him to visit these areas within the temple hub and platform his way to success and to the boss. The format reminded me a lot of the Mega Man games, just not as hard. This means there is lots of platforming, along with using weapons like a whip or other abilities found over time. The goal is not only just get to the end but to find hidden crystal skulls. A currency that is used to unlock more levels in the hub area. Find all the crystals is fun as hidden pathways or secret areas usually lead to discovering these. So while platforming and successfully completely the level is the goal, these are a must. It really brings home the adventure vibe they are going for.
Visually, we have a game that clearly aspires to look like a Nintendo Entertainment System title, and it shows. While it definitely nails that retro look, it does so with great colors, pallets’, and visual effects. Things like crackling lightening in a background or brown leaves falling in the breeze. If this had come out during the time frame, it would no doubt be one of the best looking NES games at the time. Along with that comes a great soundtrack that nails the perfect combo to really bring home that feel.
Controls here are also very basic but feel good. Platforming has to be precise here and there is no lag I could sense. Jumping and attacking feels good. Add in the new abilities you discover and elements to unlock, players can expect some backtracking of prior levels, especially for those skulls. It simple works as it should, a simple premise of a game that works as intend but feels fun and challenging in the process. While the game can be hard at times, there are several saving checkpoint players will come to that help progress move along quite nicely.
There isn’t much here to complain about. What players get is a charming, funny, and challenging platform game that feels like a combination between an Indiana Jones like adventure mixed with elements of exploration and Mega Man like gameplay, minus the blaster. It’s a title I absolutely loved digging into and I feel anyone that’s a fan of retro games definitely deserves to check this one out. It’s a hidden treasure for sure.
A Switch eShop code was provided by the publisher for review purposes