Saturday, 24 May 2014

8BitBoy - Super Mario Bros clone hits Steam

Super Mario Dross

Last year (February to be precise) I reviewed a free indie game for the PC, 8BitBoy (see full review, here). Basically a no frills ripoff of Super Mario Bros and Great Giana Sisters, its complete mediocrity left me cold, and I awarded it a measly 4 out of 10 score. Well, it's back, only this time it's on Steam and is no longer free. The developers contacted me to inform me of this 'new and improved' version, so I felt a slight revision to the previous review was in order, hoping that this new version would correct many of the problems in the free iteration.

Unfortunately, after an hour or two of snooze-worthy gameplay, I can report that 8BitBoy is just as tedious, bland and completely devoid of character and creativity as last years effort. Sure, there are some slight improvements to the visuals and the 'Rainbow Islands'-esque world map is a nice addition, but it still contains one of the most charmless and poorly animated player sprites I have witnessed (seriously, why does he jerk along, flapping his arms like a child pretending to be a bird?). The levels are colourful and easy on the eye, but they lack any detail or interesting features, while the standard 'hit blocks with your head to get coins or power-ups' idea has been done to death, and with far more style than this. The main problem, however, is your characters movement, which feels sluggish and imprecise - a real game breaker in a Super Mario wannabe. Speaking of which, I am currently playing through Super Mario World on Super NES for the 100th time (still as much fun as ever!) and coming from that all time classic to this derivative clone only goes to show how poor an effort it is. 

When it was free 8BitBoy, though still a bad game, could be somewhat forgiven, but when they are asking money for it, it's just taking the piss really. I simply cannot see any point in this game existing as there are hundreds of great retro platform games that can be enjoyed via compilations, download services, or emulators. I can only assume that the target audience for 8BitBoy are gamers who have no idea about emulation, or are too lazy to seek out games outside of Steam. Just go and play the NES and SNES Super Mario games, or any of the Giana Sisters titles - I recommend the wonderful Nintendo DS iteration (which has recently been ported to Android & iOS) and leave this clone to disappear into obscurity where it belongs.

Title : 8BitBoy
Developer : Awesome Blade Software
Year : 2013 / 2014
System : PC
Price : £4.99
Genre : Platformer