8BB1By Chris

A little different from your standard review, I wanted to talk about a game I dug up in the Steam Store some time ago. You see, I’d been jonesing for platformers, mostly as a result of the hitherto unbroken streak of dissatisfaction with mainstream releases. The preceding sentence was just a fancy way of saying that I was too much of a slobbering Fallout 3 and New Vegas fanboy to be able to appreciate anything else (even the anointed Skyrim).

Anyway, mid-platformer-streak I had this uncontrollable urge to play some classic Super Mario. I wasn’t planning on purchasing anything Nintendo at the time (the heartbreak of the DS was still fresh in me) so I couldn’t really go to the source material, and I wanted something a little more fresh (something like a 2D remake). Then along came 8BitBoy. Actually, I found it after lazily typing “Mario” into the Steam search engine and crossing my fingers.

Swiftly bypassing Super Meat Boy (I have no idea why I have no inclination towards play this game, even under duress, but I do) I found this little gem. The description showed me everything I wanted. The Mario aesthetics, the polished visuals and the varied worlds all sold me instantly. Well, all of that and the low price sold me, if I’m honest.

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Games like the previously reviewed Bleed and Shantae: Risky’s Revenge (which is another kickass platformer) will certainly give you a retro boner, accompanied by genuine fun, but 8BitBoy is a specialist that seeks to fill the void only an absence of a fat Italian plumber can leave in you. Editing note: that last sentence should probably be rephrased.

As you can tell by first glance, 8BitBoy is a tribute game, and is therefore hard to peg in terms of originality. The enemies are different and the worlds are vibrant, which makes for a well-executed game, but I can’t help but see it as Diet Mario, which is unfair because of how much content is in the bloody game.

If you, like me, are tiring to scratch that elusive retro Mario itch, try 8BitBoy. On its own, this is a solid game, but as a tribute to its 2D ancestors, it soars above the rest.

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