Venture Kid Review(Steam/PC)
Is it as Mega as it seems?
Venture Kid is a heavily inspired Mega Man side scrolling action platformer developed/published by FDG Entertainment. Does it have what it takes to stand up with the nostalgia of the past? does it do Mega Man justice? we'll see.
The evil Dr. Teklov is up to no good and is determined to use his new secret weapon to reek havoc on all of mankind. It is up to Venture Kid and his friends to take the fight right back to him and stop his evil deeds once and for all. But getting there will not be easy,especially with the minions the evil Dr has at his disposal.
In case you haven't guessed already from the title picture or from the description above, Venture Kid by FDG Entertainment is heavily inspired and developed around the classic franchise of Mega Man. It's a complete love letter to the beloved franchise and in a lot of ways it begins to show more and more through out the game with its music and animation. Even the opening title sequence is similar to the classic pan up to the hero on top of a building trope.
Right from the get go in stage one, you start off with an energy gun that shoot's little marble shaped bullets. This will be your main weapon for most of the game as other weapons you acquire later in the game,don't really matter all that much in the long run. But that's a story for later.
Your goal as Venture Kid is to climb,fight and platform your way through 9 different stages in order to take down Dr. Teklov. Each stage progresses more and more from a typical jungle environment, to an ice environment to a jungle,etc etc. and each stage offers their own variety of enemy types and level hazards,but ultimately its not a real challenge since health is abundant and extra lives are hidden everywhere.
When a player completes each level,you're awarded a new weapon to use that may or may not give you certain advantages over your opponent and enemy. The total number of weapons you can get by the end of the game is a total number of 8 different weapons. All having their own power meters,which you will have to manage carefully so they don't run out of power. Picking up power obs dropped by enemies is crucial.
The weapons you gain access to range from a fire attack,ice attack that freezes enemies on the spot momentarily,boomerang, and the list goes on and on. I stated before that these weapons aren't really useful overall in the game because to be perfectly honest, you don't need them. There is no boss fight nor any regular enemy in the game that requires a specific power up like you would find in a game like Mega Man. You can easily beat the game without any effort just using your original pea shooter energy gun.
The other weapons do however offer you ways to gain access to secret areas you might not have been able to reach before without them. Secret areas most of the time allow you gain more energy boosters that are needed to keep your weapons fully charged and also afford you the opportunity to pick up hearts for your health and extra lives just in case you need them. Quick example of this is if you see a platform you can't reach but there's a jumping or tall enemy near by, you may freeze him,jump on him and then jump again to reach the higher platform. It gives you incentive to test out what new power ups work and where to use them.
Now I want to move on to a subject that will probably get flak from people that are big fans of Mega Man. The Mega Man franchise is known for it's tricky platforming and hard and engaging game play that keeps you on your toes the entire time you play. I can not say the same for Venture Kid and that's really tough to see. Venture Kid has all the visuals,music and animations down of what made Mega Man such as great and memorable franchise,but it does not back it up with hard nor engaging edge of your seat game play that you would have expected it to.
The difficulty is really an anyone can play the game type of game. There is never really multiple enemies coming at you at once at any point on the screen and most of your encounters are a 1 on 1 encounter with you,one enemy and the environment. The platforming you will find in the game is also bare basic,requiring very minimal precise jumps and very little difficulty with stage hazards such as fire spitting out of the walls or riding a minecart and jumping before it falls. Most of the platforming requires you to just stand there,time your movement, then jump,fall down a hole,climb up and repeat. Difficulty is scarce,but its not all bad.
When I say the easy difficult isn't all that bad, I mean it in the way that not only can hardcore gamers get their nostalgia kicks with Venture Kid,but new players or casual players can also just pick up the game immediately and enjoy playing it without having much too worry about. That's the direction FDG seemed to want to go with the game, pay homage to Mega Man, but still make it accessible enough for players of all skill levels to still find some enjoyment out of the game,which when thinking of it in that way, it's not really a bad strategy in my opinion.
Finally the highlight of the game to me came with the Boss fights you encounter at the end of each level. While these boss fights aren't necessarily hard either,they still offer a good variety compared to the previous regular enemies you encountered getting to this point. Each separate boss requires a little bit of trial and error in order to determine the exact pattern they will deploy against you. At most you'll be able to figure out all their moves after taking a few shots of damage, but sometimes you won't figure out their full pattern till you've at least died one time. From a big bear,to death to a phoenix fire bird, you will also come to enjoy what the boss fights has to offer you.
With a average time frame of 1-2 hours of game play for the entire main story campaign,Venture Kid stumbles a bit with its basic platforming,lack of real difficulty, lack of real enemy variety, but it does however make up in great visuals,smooth game play,solid soundtrack and decent boss fights at the end of each level.
With weighing the negatives and positives from the overall experience, if you're a fan of the Mega Man franchise and think you would be interested to play a game that takes so much from it and pays so much homage to it, I will say this is definitely worth a look. Sure it might not the best Mega Man clone I have ever played or you have ever played,but it does offer up just enough charm to make you want to sit down and take those 1-2hrs of your life to play this game from beginning to end.
and hey, at least it's not Mighty No. 9
~bah dum tish~
Venture Kid is out now on Steam/PC.
*Review code provided by FDG Entertainment