Battletoads Review – Middle-Aged Cartoon Alien Toads
It’s been nearly 30 years since the original Battletoads, and my memory of it boils down to three things: 1) It was made like an Arcade coin-muncher even though it came out on the NES. 2) The toads’ eyes bulged out of their heads when you got to a boss. 3) There are hoverbikes, and they are loads of fun right up until the moment you start screaming. The 2020 version of Battletoads isn’t afraid to mix things up. It’s a nostalgia bomb that takes one of the original’s core tenets, switching between beat-’em-up and platforming gameplay, and expands on it, while adding cartoon visuals and some story that introduces extra depth. Some aspects of the reinvention fall flat, but Battletoads is playful and inventive, and worth checking in on for old time’s sake.
The new Battletoads deftly channels its original vibe and silly conceit into self-referential ‘90’s-style cartoon. The cel-shaded art and neon graphics are a pitch-perfect throwback to the Saturday morning cartoons a ’90s kid would remember watching before and/or after playing some of the original game.
And like a Saturday morning cartoon, Battletoads is driven by a simple but energetic story. The toads discover they’ve been trapped in a hologram for decades and the universe has forgotten them. The story sets the stage for a lot of self-parody, which makes for some fun sequences early on, like a series of quick-time events where the toads get mundane, work-a-day jobs. But the self-owns wear thin quickly. There are some witty one-liners, but they often come off as more fun than funny. Occasionally, they just fall flat by being unnecessarily crass, like a scene with a gag involving a member of the trio wearing a saggy diaper. The ’90s gross-out toy phenomenon was always part of Battletoads aesthetic–the toads’ names, for the uninitiated, are Zitz, Pimple, and Rash–but it is one part I wish the series would have left in the past.Continue Reading at GameSpot
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