12/03/2021

๐Ÿ’ฃ Papi Commando 2: Second Blood | Review | 8/10 | Mega Drive | "There’s No Blood Like Second Blood" ๐Ÿ’ฃ @Broke_Studio #IndieGames #GameDev #HomeBrew #SEGA

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Here at GF, we are big fans of homebrew titles being released on older consoles and games such as Devwill Too and Flea! have been great examples of small development teams creating great games.
I’m pleased to say that Studio Vetea’s Papi Commando 2 continues this trend. A cartoonish arena shooter for up to two players with 100 levels to explore, it’s a great new game to add to your Mega Drive collection.
Having never played the original, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when popping this in. From the trailers, I assumed that it was an Ikari Warriors-Esque vertical scroller. In actual fact, the game plays out by way of arena-style, self-contained stages, which actually work pretty well and give the game a snappy, arcade feel.
The simple story that frames the game is that Papi’s beloved ‘Commostrad’ has been stolen and he (and his wife, if a second player is available) are on a quest to retrieve it from the evil C++ forces, the tinkers!
The game plays out over 100 stages, each split into 10 individual levels per section, complete with a shop at the half-way point to spend your earned cash on ammo and/or upgrades with cash management being surprisingly tense and rewarding.
The gameplay is akin to a simplified Smash TV but with larger sprites. Papi and Mami begin in an area and are soon swamped by enemies, strafing planes and the occasional tank.
Whilst there are multiple stages and various enemies, you only get one enemy type in each level – although each type has an individual statistic set, meaning that they’ll be faster, harder to kill or deal more damage – it does mean that there’s a lack of variety in enemy visual styles on each level, I assume that this is done to keep the speed of the game up as it’s a smooth and swift experience, especially when running in NTSC mode, which the game is designed for.*
There are several different mission types that pop up, from collecting pieces of the Commostrad and killing a set number of enemies to surviving a specific amount of time against tougher opponents or taking down a tank.
These variations do add a little mix to the straight gameplay and the fact that you can randomise the soundtrack in the in-game menu is a nice touch and offers some variety that is a little lacking in terms of the in-game stages with the jungle, desert and base scenes feeling repetitive after a while. That said, there is a password system here and so you can dip in and out, saving your progress every ten levels, a nice touch so that you don’t have to start from scratch each session.
As mentioned above, Papi Commando 2: Second Blood wasn’t what I was initially expecting. The game actually has light resource management in terms of ammunition and cash. At the scattered stores throughout the game, if you have the money, you can either pick up some upgrades or stick with what you have and stock up on that sweet, sweet ammo so that you don’t have to rely on your pretty flimsy back-up knife, something that the second player doesn’t have access to, adding another element of tactics during gameplay.
Oh, I also liked how you basically give the other player a slap when they are down to bring them back to life. Good.
In summary, Papi Commando 2: Second Blood is a really fun and smooth experience with a sense of humour about itself and a solid if simple gameplay loop.
Right, I’m off to lock and load.
*I actually played in PAL mode for a couple of hours before realising this and it acts as a sort of ‘lower difficulty mode’ due to the slower pace, perfect for those who want a more relaxed experience.

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