Often blurring the line between paying homage and shamelessly ripping off, this retro shooter is a mixed bag
I absolutely love the retro run ‘n gun classics, and to date on the Switch we’ve seen retro collections as well as newer takes on the subgenre represented. Mission 1985 is a bit of an odd bird, playing somewhere outside the normal lines by emulating elements of the look and feel of multiple titles at once, though not always to the best effect. The stages you’ll spend the bulk of your time on were very directly inspired by the classic Commando, with most aspects of play and even chunks of level designs feeling like they were pulled in directly. What has been enhanced is mostly in the area of your weaponry, with pick-ups like an effective flamethrower that give off more of a Total Carnage vibe in terms of the visuals. The less effective look that’s used in 2 of the stages is more in line with the classic Operation: Wolf, but with a caveat that in general it looks pretty clunky and doesn’t play nearly as well overall. Novel, yes, but I was happy to be done with them. Some boss fights and later stages will give you trouble but unfortunately in general there just doesn’t feel like a lot of inspiring meat on this game’s bones. Despite outright borrowing multiple aspects and styles of some iconic arcade titles it hasn’t managed to capture their essence or level of polish that made them memorable. For retro fans it may be fun to play a few hours of classics remixed but for everyone else it will be a pass.
Justin Nation, Score: