To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Beserk Boy review: pixel-perfect platforming fun drenched in GBA vibes

Beserk Boy review: pixel-perfect platforming fun drenched in GBA vibes

Beserk Boy is a GBA style delight

I’m a simple man. If I catch a whiff of a game that gives off even the slightest hint of Game Boy Advance vibes, I cling to it faster than a wet shower curtain.

Last year’s Sea Of Stars hit that nostalgic sweet spot for me, offering up an adventure that paid tribute to its influences while delivering something ostensibly fresh and tuned up for modern audiences. Beserk Boy, an intoxicating blend of the Sonic Advance and Mega Man Zero games that so frequently inhaled my GBA’s battery, is another retro-flavoured banger.

Beserk Boy’s overriding influence is very clear Mega Man. This is clear from the opening moments, as you’re thrown into a futuristic world with evil doctors and cybernetically enhanced children. The narrative isn’t particularly noteworthy, and it’s unlikely the characters will live long in the memory. But the developer knows this, and keeps exposition light so that we can focus on what works: fast-paced arcadey platforming action.

Beserk Boy /
BeserkBoy Games

Make no mistake, Beserk Boy is an incredibly slick game. In much the same way I genuinely believe a lot of GBA platformers really improved on the slightly floatier physics of their predecessors (compare Metroid Zero Mission to Super Metroid), Beserk Boy has a sense of speed and crunch to its combat and platforming that makes it an absolute joy to play. It’s also worth noting checkpoints are fairly generous, which helps offset the frustration of some of the game’s more challenging sections.

Beserk Boy gives us five Sectors (worlds, basically) to explore, with each one split into its own series of sub-stages. Rather than simply force you to gun through each level without looking back, however, there’s a touch of Metroid Fusion in the way you frequently return to a hub area to purchase permanent character upgrades.

These upgrades range from things like increased health and better attacks, to moves that aid exploration and encourage you to return to previous areas to uncover new secrets. Better yet, if you’re really feeling stuck on a certain boss or level, you can simply revisit past stages to grind for cash and get more upgrades. It’s a smart way to balance the challenge many gamers expect from a retro-styled platformer with a more accessible approach that respects the time of the busy modern gamer.

Beserk Boy is more than a collection of influences and references thrown together. It has its own, clear sense of identity, and offers up a genuinely challenging and stunning action platformer that rewards replayability and exploration. Modern touches like extra side missions, an upgrade shop, and the added oomph modern hardware can offer a 16-bit game are all cherries atop what is already a delicious sundae.

Pros: Beautiful GBA vibes permeate the entire experience, smart modern touches make it more accessible

Cons: Unoriginal story

For fans of: Sonic Advance, Mega Man X, Metroid Fusion

8/10: Excellent

Beserk Boy is available now for Nintendo Switch and PC (version tested). Code supplied by publisher. Read a guide to our review scores here.
Featured Image Credit: BeserkBoy Games

Topics: Indie Games