Thursday, May 2

Review: Venture Kid [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Making retro games that are meant to emulate the look and feel of key series from platforms past is a tough business. Your goal is, no doubt, to create an experience that people with nostalgia for that bygone era can connect with while having your creation stand apart in some positive way. Whether that’s showing some modern flair, throwing in some quality of life features, or using a unique theme of some kind there should be some area where you show your mark. While Ventuke Kid certainly serves up the classic feels (as well as some cheap reminders of mechanics better left in the past) it stumbles trying to do much more than ape classic styles and stand on its own.


You’ll play the part of said kid, Andy, determined to foil the plot of some evil scientist… or whatever. You’ll be armed with your jump, a weapon of some sort depending on the level, and your m4d platforming skillz. Be ready for a lot of focus on your timing, careful dodging of enemy fire and traps, and bosses that will challenge you with a feel that will definitely tickle your nostalgia bone if you grew up loving this style of play.


However, if you carry some expectation of modern sensibilities of some sort coming along for the ride you’ll be a bit disappointed. Yes, there’s support for Survival and Boss Rush modes, which are nice, but mechanically and thematically there’s nothing jumping out as unique or exciting here. It’s content that satisfies its goal of emulating the feel of vintage games but there’s not a lot of heart or spark of uniqueness in it, which is a shame since there are some other games in the Switch library that have managed to satisfy on all fronts more effectively.


Venture Kid is by no means a bad game, it’s just hard to be passionate about it. I’ll give credit to the developers in the sense that if you loaded this up on a retro console and told me it was a game I’d managed to miss back in the day I’d be hard-pressed to tell you otherwise. It absolutely feels like a title from the days of the NES and Sega Master System, complete with some classic cheapness and mechanics I don’t miss but that’s fine. If your goal is purely to seek out those retro feels you should thoroughly enjoy the game, just if you’ve come to expect a little something extra in the form of innovation or value added improvements to the classic style you won’t generally find them here.


Score: 6.5

Pros:
  • Absolutely nails the classic 8-bit era action platformer look and feel
  • The controls are solid and responsive

Cons:
  • While it does a great job of emulating classic gameplay styles it doesn’t feel like it has anything of note to contribute of its own
  • There’s quite a bit of trial and error cheapness you’ll have to learn about the hard way as you go