I’ve always had a soft spot for the classics. Growing up, my very first system was the NES, with games like Mega Man taking up a large portion of my youth. I’ve recently had the chance to sit down and play MadGearGames tribute to the NES side scrollers you grew up and fell in love with. It’s currently slated for release on Xbox One & Steam May 19th, with a PS4 release this summer. When I first started it up, the opening credits began to play, and I was taken back to my childhood. All those memories started flooding back; the catchy music, the tight controls, the addictive gameplay….and then A Hole New World proceeded to kick my butt (just like the good ol days).
The story begins with the world Versee, a prosperous and peaceful place, slowly being gripped by the forces of evil. Yakshini, creator of Versee, decides to split the world in two to separate good and evil. This comes at the cost of Yakshini’s strength, she has become weak, and could easily be manipulated by mere mortals. She chooses to split herself into 5 orbs, and spreads them across both worlds. However, the evil Lord Baduk discovers the Orb of Darkness and finds his way to Versee. He then proceeds to unleash chaos upon it. (not good).
This is where you, The Potion Master, comes in. Lord Baduks minions have risen from the abysses and only your potions can stop them. The big feature with this game, is you can fall down holes that would typically kill you, and end up in an upside down version of the world you’re in. The level design changes completely in these areas and continues to surprise me. There’s moments where you’re literally jumping in and out of each area to avoid monsters or obstacles, with the controls changing depending on if you’re upside down or not. In one level, you have to destroy a giant heart, which requires you to take out 4 heart valves, which then culminates in a mini boss fight. Navigating to each of these valves means you have to use all your abilities, as well as jumping between the regular and upside down areas to get to them. It sounds confusing but it works really well and adds a ton of variety to the typical 2D side scroller. You can see for yourself just how crazy the gameplay can get below.
If you’ve been dying for a new Mega Man, A Hole New World could be the game to fill that void. Gameplay consists of jumping, ducking, and throwing potions (with a charge up attack acquired fairly early on). You gain new potions from the bosses you defeat, with a Mega Man (I know, I keep saying Mega Man, you can make a drinking game out of it if you want) style screen showing off your newfound abilities. These powers range from lightning potions, to double jumps, to fire & ice potions that change their elements back and forth as they bounce off of things. You even have a little fairy named Fay that will revive you if you die (it will cost you a life but you get to continue from where you were). The game can be ruthless in some parts, with enemies attacking relentlessly. This can get pretty overwhelming, with some enemies attacks littering the entire screen. On the plus side, there are checkpoints throughout the levels that save your game, allowing you to pick up where you left off whenever you want. It’s a welcome feature that makes those frustrating deaths much more bearable.
So far I’m really digging what A Hole New World has to offer. I haven’t finished it yet, and there’s still different PRO options to choose from (like Speedrun Timer or Completionist for all you hardcore folk). If that’s your kinda thing, the first 3 players to contact MadGearGames showing they’ve unlocked all the achievements/trophies after it’s launched, will get an NES cartridge of the game that will work on consoles, complete with game soundtrack (how cool is that?). A Hole New World is very unique with some really challenging gameplay. I can’t wait to spend more time with it. Be sure to check back closer to its May 19th release date for a full review. – NVJ