๐Ÿค  Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan | REVIEW | NINTENDO SWITCH | "tough as old whips" ๐Ÿค  #GameDev #IndieGames

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Whilst Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan’s challenge can have you pinching the bridge of your nose, its charm and solid design will keep dragging you back to the underground temples (as you massage your own).
A pretty traditional platform game with pixelated visuals calling to mind a very NES aesthetic, the game puts you in the well-worn boots of the titular trepid trespasser, a man, bulbous of conk that is pillaging Mayan temples for his fortune and inadvertently gets not only trapped in one by unseen forces but also appears to be the foretold saviour of the Mayan warriors within. Quite a full-on day, all in all.

Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan plays out in pretty standard format with the main character beginning with a whip (which has a satisfyingly fluid animation) and little else as he leaps around the caverns, avoiding enemies, collecting gems and hoarding the all-important crystal skulls which unlock newer temples to explore.
The game carries the torch of 80s game design occasionally to a fault. Collecting keys to doors and whipping the walls for secrets is really good fun but sometimes the length between certain save points and unfair enemy placement can feel slightly unfair, a few times in the game I needed to traverse a ladder and bees or bats (which can travel through the solid scenery) would attack me from above or below, making my frenzied horizontal whipping useless, lowering my health whilst raising my blood pressure. The game also features some backtracking, which I know can be a stickler for some players.

Due to the need to collect the crystal skulls in order to unlock new sections of the game, you may complete a level and defeat the bosses (which are quite fun, if nothing out of the ordinary) but miss a few key skulls that you need to proceed and so, back in you go, whipping those walls!

The music in the game is really well-designed with bouncy chiptunes keeping Sydney company as he works his way through the caverns and even muffles when underwater, which is a nice touch. Following on with the 80s gameplay style, enemies respawn when you transition between screens, so there’s rarely a moment to relax.

There are Mayan warriors scattered throughout the stages that offer advice on how to proceed and give tips on upcoming bosses etc. The dialogue with Sydney is in a 4th wall-breaking, ‘wink-wink’ style which did grind on me after a while, feeling a bit too self-referential and ironic for the sake of it but as it’s a relatively small part of the game, it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me.
In summary, Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan (they do address the awkwardness of the title in the game itself) is a neat little throwback to a more retro-styled platformer. The chirpy music, solid platforming and charming yet challenging tone does make up for the more gruelling elements. One to grab, especially if you are a platforming fan.

Right, back into the temple I go!


Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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