Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Venture Kid (iOS) Review

On this fine Tuesday we continue our journey (or should I say "adventure"?) through the world of mobile gaming. This time, we delve into an iOS game that is pretty much a Mega Man rip-off. For its price, the gameplay is quite solid, and the game itself is worth checking out. It's Venture Kid for iOS devices, and here's the SuperPhillip Central review.

The kid is all right.

With Capcom putting Mega Man out to pasture over the years (though the Legacy Collection is seeing a retail release this month, featuring all six NES titles and various extras), many fans have been clamoring for something entirely new from the series. Since Capcom isn't happy to oblige just yet, fans like myself have gone elsewhere to get our fix from a new Mega Man-like game. 

Many Mega Man styled titles have reached consoles and handhelds, but on iOS and Android, the thirst for a game that plays like the Blue Bomber's own games is indeed real. Thankfully, FDG Entertainment enters the arena with a game that feels like home to a Mega Man fan like yours truly, and that game is Venture Kid. It may feature a generic identity, but the gameplay and price makes for a game that satisfies my craving for more Mega Man-like games in my life.

Venture Kid is an admirable attempt at bringing a Mega Man style game to iOS-enabled devices. The touch controls work well enough, but if you're interested in more precision, you can use a controller for added accuracy. Either way you play, you're going to find incredibly tight controls that just feel right and work well. Holding down the jump button for a long duration gives you the largest hang-time in and apex of your jump. There are tricky moments where spikes are on the ceiling, and jumping too high will result in immediate death. Therefore, it's paramount that you just tap the jump button in this case.

They look cute, but these enemies have no reservations against taking our hero Andy out.
The initial eight stages are relatively challenging to get through, staying true to the Mega Man style. However, in Venture Kid, you play them in order instead of being able to choose which you start with and end with. The levels take place in your traditional settings with little in the way of innovation, such as a forest, a city, a factory, a castle, and a space fortress, for instance.

What boss lurks ahead for Andy to defeat?
Every level outside of the final two that take place in the big bad's space fortress lair contains a hidden golden treasure to find. These are placed in some really clever locations that require a keen eye to discover. You can use a bomb to blast a cracked wall to enter a secret area, or you can leap onto what seems like the top of a room and walk over the ceiling to a hidden chamber. Most of these treasures aren't too tricky to find, only taking me my first run to figure out their locations, but some require more involved steps, such as hitting a switch to open an otherwise locked door. These treasures are used to keep open doors leading to the true final boss encounter of Venture Kid.

Speaking of which, each level in Venture Kid concludes with a boss battle, and these are serviceable enough affairs that have you taking on everything from a tiger that launches furballs at you to a duo of miners on a pushcart, to the grim reaper himself. Bosses have one or two set moves they unleash on you, and when their health bar reaches below halfway, they generally introduce a new hitch to their otherwise predictable attack patterns. 

Time to serve this grim reaper his just desserts.
After beating a level, in true Mega Man fashion, you earn a new weapon or item to assist you in the game. Everything from firework rockets that shoot at a diagonal angle, perfect for flying enemies, to items that allow you to double jump or walk on spikes that would otherwise kill you just by touching them. Each item has a set amount of weapon energy to it, so when a weapon is out of juice, you can either utilize a potion that restores energy or collect dropped weapon energy capsules from enemies.

Spiders, bees, moles, and any other type of foe you can think of is pitted against Andy.
When you're on the world map, you can select any level you've previously completed to seek out alternate paths to the before mentioned hidden treasures or to boost your orb count. Orbs are the currency of Venture Kid, and these go a long way to helping you buy beneficial goodies like extra lives, weapon energy recovery potions, and extra hearts to add to your health supply, to name a few. There are some micro-transactions to be found in Venture Kid, but these are by no means necessary to fully enjoy the game. They just allow you to use real world money to get orbs or in one case the ability to double the amount of orbs you collect. 

Venture Kid is a game that can be quite short, lasting about an hour or two for persistent players. There are over 40 achievements to earn, ranging from beating levels, using items in particular ways, and beating bosses in quick fashion, without taking damage, and having one heart of health left. A hard difficulty mode adds to the longevity of this 99 cent game, making it very much worth a purchase for anyone who likes Mega Man styled games.

Be mindful of those spikes; they're instant death!
The only real criticism I can place on Venture Kid is that between the initial eight levels and the final two, there is an immense spike in difficulty, having the space fortress levels possess a gross abundance of one-hit kills and "gotcha" moments. What makes matters worse is that to get the true ending of the game, you have to beat a multiple phase boss and chase after it in several auto-scrolling sections. Losing all your lives, which is quite easy due to health-restoring pickups being removed from the level once they've been picked up, results in having to redo the almost hair-pulling-frustrating final level all over again. Be sure to stock up on a lot of lives before taking on this incredibly challenging last level. 

This boss can't drive 55, but he can drive back and forth across the screen. Same difference, right?
That said, Venture Kid is a terrific old school game that, while lacking an innovative identity, possesses tried and true action-platforming gameplay. The difficulty might spike in the endgame, but all in all, Venture Kid deserves a place on every Mega Man fan's home screen, as it is insanely affordable, oodles of fun, and has tight and satisfying controls. 

[SPC Says: B]

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