Narita Boy Evaluation – IGN

Narita Boy left me conflicted like few different video games have earlier than. Its jaw-dropping neo-retro 2D aesthetic consistently treats your eyes to stunning ‘80s themed backdrops, wildly imaginative character designs, and splendidly fluid animations whereas a really wonderful synth-wave soundtrack completely underscores not solely the motion, and the emotional moments of its story are surprisingly poignant as effectively. However so far as really enjoying it’s involved, Narita Boy is at finest serviceable, with hole exploration stuffed with fixed backtracking, easy puzzles, and fight that by no means actually evolves in ways in which make more durable enemies any extra enjoyable to combat. And at its worst moments… effectively, let’s simply say that fortunately it’s solely at its worst for a fraction of its six or seven-hour size, as a result of in any other case I’d want an entire lot extra aspirin.

You play as a younger boy who all of the sudden will get dragged right into a digital world after its creator, a genius {hardware} and software program developer named Lionel Pearl, will get his recollections stolen by a trojan horse often known as HIM. The boy assumes the position of the titular hero, “Narita Boy,” and units out on an journey to revive Lionel’s recollections, defeat HIM, and save the digital world. Nonetheless, that may be a large oversimplification of Narita Boy’s hard-to-follow overarching plot, which is slowed down with technical jargon and boring exposition dumps.

Happily although, that setup is just not the primary attraction of Narita Boy’s story. The actual meat of it’s communicated as you unlock Lionel’s recollections and play via 13 actually well-done flashback sequences that chronicle his life all the best way from childhood to the current. Every time I unlocked one it felt like a present I couldn’t wait to unwrap: these bite-sized story sequences are simply the highpoint of Narita Boy as an entire, as Lionel’s story is an emotional one to look at unfold, with great music box-like tunes adeptly setting the tone. What’s particularly neat about them is the best way they assist deliver higher understanding to the digital world that you just’re enjoying via. They tie collectively the digital and bodily worlds in a approach that’s quite intelligent.


So far as fight goes, Narita Boy appears to be like extra spectacular than it really feels to play. There are some actually nice animations, hits are impactful, and the best way enemies die is tremendous satisfying to have a look at – however the massive downside is that, on the outset, there actually isn’t a lot to your arsenal of strikes exterior of a primary three-hit sword combo, close-range shotgun blast, and highly effective beam assault. That’s an alright base, however not one of the skills that you just acquire as you progress ever make partaking with fight any extra enjoyable.

Reasonably than altering the best way you strategy a combat to maintain issues contemporary, the methods you unlock are extra designed round supplying you with a strategy to take care of a selected new enemy kind. For instance, there’s a shoulder bash that’s solely actually used on one shielded enemy kind, and an uppercut that’s primarily simply used to hit the few enemies that fly. That makes them really feel extra like keys than precise methods, solely for use once you see the suitable enemy-shaped lock. Because of this, fight will get stale early on and stays that approach.

Fight will get stale early on and stays that approach

The one exception to this stagnancy is a dashing thrust assault that really suits properly into Narita Boy’s repertoire of strikes as a strategy to hit a bunch of enemies in a row, along with with the ability to take away armor from a selected enemy. In fact, it’s one of many final methods that you just get, so I didn’t have a lot time to essentially get pleasure from utilizing it in fight.

And whereas there are a formidable variety of enemy varieties all through Narita Boy, they’re virtually all disappointingly easy, with a single assault and a single approach so that you can keep away from that assault. Ultimately you acquire the flexibility to make use of a Wildfire energy up and may toggle between pink, blue, and yellow auras, which makes you deal and take extra injury in opposition to enemies of the identical colour. However whereas it’s nice to have an additional layer to consider in fight to interrupt the routine of all of it, it fails to make fights any extra enjoyable because you just about simply kill enemies in a single hit once you’re matched with their colour.

None of because of this fight in Narita Boy is outright dangerous, and I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that it’s shallow, as a result of the enemies do require that you just be taught their patterns, so simple as they’re. It simply by no means rises above that baseline stage of what fight must be in an motion platformer like this, leaving it considerably amusing however comparatively one-note the entire approach via when in comparison with evolving video games like Ori or Guacamelee.

Platforming and exploration comply with the identical path limped alongside by Narita Boy’s fight: they by no means actually cross that threshold of being something higher than simply “nice” on a elementary stage. The world of Narita Boy could also be completely beautiful to have a look at, with visually spectacular backdrops all through every of its three main color-coded zones, however I ultimately grew numb to them; working backwards and forwards between them over and over, choosing up and delivering keys whereas making an attempt to maintain observe of which of them are for which locks with none kind of map drains them of their novelty after some time.

At Its Worst

Every space of Narita Boy is capped off with a giant occasion to transition into the subsequent one, and often these are among the many highpoints of the entire marketing campaign. Browsing on a floppy disc and transitioning from skidding alongside the water’s floor to leaping again onto stable floor is nice enjoyable, as is the ability fantasy of remodeling into a large robotic and totally smashing all the pieces in your approach. However there’s one transition in Narita Boy that I want to speak about intimately, as a result of it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to rage-quitting a recreation that I used to be assigned to overview.

Upon clearing the Yellow Home space it’s a must to journey on a stag in a really acquainted speeder bike-esque part that you just’ve in all probability seen 100 instances in different video games – assume Bit.Journey Runner’s side-scrolling impediment dodging, simply with out the rhythm ingredient. However right here you’re shifting extraordinarily quick and the obstacles that you should soar over are just a bit too onerous to see. Much more irritating is that in an effort to keep away from taking injury from sure enemies, it’s a must to enhance via them. The issue is that once you enhance you progress so quick, and it pushes you up to now to the suitable facet of the display, that it turns into virtually unimaginable to react to no matter is coming subsequent.

The result’s a two-minute-long blurry impediment course that largely comes all the way down to memorization, very similar to that notorious Battletoads stage just about everybody has hated since 1991. However whereas Battletoads has that hardcore attraction of being a troublesome recreation right through, Narita Boy is in any other case a very simple recreation, and this terrible stage comes out of completely nowhere. It’s made worse by the truth that the mechanic meant for supplying you with well being again, which is boosting via a string of enemies, typically doesn’t work and has you continue to taking injury for seemingly no cause, even throughout a component that appears explicitly designed to allow you to heal. It’s headache-inducing, it doesn’t work as meant, and it virtually fully ruined Narita Boy as an entire for me – however fortunately this quick part can also be the one second prefer it.

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