03/04/2021

⚔️ Golden Force | Review | Nintendo Switch | 6/10 | "Golden Force is Very Much of the Wonder Boy ilk" ⚔️ @NoGravity_Games #IndieGames #GameDev

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In redrafting this review I've noticed I keep calling the game Golden Axe. 

It is not Golden Axe, which is one of my favourite beat 'em ups, with a cracking soundtrack and extremely unfair later levels (ah, the 80s). 

It is reminiscent of another classic series though, and that is Wonder Boy.
When I was growing up, the cafe-with-games-in that every South Wales town had (along with the chippy-with-games-in) briefly had Wonder Boy In Monster Land. I eagerly watched the attract sequence about fifty times, then by the time I went back there with money it had gone. 

Despite being bang into retro games I've never searched it out, just in case, it turns out to be rubbish and my dreams crushed.

But I digress. Golden Force is very much of the Wonder Boy ilk - a hack and slash platformer. 

Each of the four playable characters has a standard combo, a charge attack, dash and slide which means you can pick up and play with any of them easily enough. 
On top of this, the levels mix standard platforming with Mario-esque hidden areas where you can collect gold coins for the standard shop trip as well as different forms of currency to unlock more permanent upgrades.

So onto the combat. It's pretty good, but there are a few bugbears. The enemy variety isn't brilliant - although the graphics are full of nice chunky pixel art designs - and they have an annoying habit of attacking from all angles, meaning you have to be very on your toes to stay alive. 
You start with a mere 5 hits before you have to restart the level (although you can upgrade this) meaning quite a few journeys back to the map screen until you learn the levels.

The nature of the weaponry on offer - very melee-skewed - leads to a gameplay strategy of running in for a few hits, legging it so as not to get hit, rinse and repeat. Some more ranged attacks would have made the combat a bit more engaging by allowing you to mix it up a bit.
The boss fights are a lot of fun. One of the first enemies you have to vanquish is a giant octopus (or squid, I'm no marine biologist) with a range of attacks, serving as a pretty steep introduction to the old-school gameplay loop: dying, learning an attack pattern, dying again, learning another until you finally triumph. 

I'm still not entirely sure why the bosses are all named after Mexican food, but maybe I wasn't paying enough attention.

So, should you play this game? 
Review By Lee Manuel

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