Author Topic: Berserk Boy (Switch) Review  (Read 544 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline riskman64

  • Score: 6
    • View Profile
Berserk Boy (Switch) Review
« on: March 05, 2024, 06:00:00 AM »

A solid, satisfying action-platformer with a few rough edges.

There's a lot of nuance within the action-platformer genre, and with later Mega Man games in particular came a heavier focus on exploration and replaying levels with newly acquired powers. Berserk Boy is a fast-paced indie game that channels the Mega Man X, Zero, and ZX games–as well as the Gunvolt series–to try and carve out its own space in this very crowded genre. It manages to provide a fair bit of entertainment across its 15 or so stages, but a couple hiccups hold it back from achieving must-play status.

Berserk Boy is at its weakest when it spends time doling out story beats that aren't nearly as captivating as its gameplay. The premise is that a boy named Kei gains the ability to transform into Berserk Boy via a strange orb, and as he collects more of them, he acquires even more transformations. Within your home base hub, you can speak to NPCs, visit a lab to improve your powers, and select new missions. Between end-of-area boss fights, you'll also be tasked with running around the base to clear out enemies that have invaded, but these segments are fairly tedious. The hub may add a bit of flavor, but it gets in the way of the true star of Berserk Boy: the way that you can fly through stages, swapping powers at the touch of a button.

Every stage features multiple checkpoint doors that allow you to return to earlier parts, if, for instance, you missed a collectible. However fast you choose to play through them, the levels can be quite lengthy, with lots of secret passages to uncover and obstacles that require specific transformations to bypass. In addition to platforming challenges, you'll encounter basic enemies, mini-bosses, and a few different types of collectibles; one of these opens up a time trial mini-stage and the other ends up coming into play near the game's conclusion. The latter collectible is actually required to unlock end-game content, which is more than a little frustrating.

Kei’s first transformation is one that grants lightning-based powers, including a high speed dash that allows you to zip across the screen, striking enemies and enabling a lock-on projectile for extra damage (not unlike how the aforementioned Gunvolt functions in his own games). The other Berserk Orbs you collect unlock a flame-based outfit with drilling capabilities, an air-themed suit that allows you to float, an ice ninja form that can hang onto moving platforms, and an earth-based form that allows you to scan doors and platforms to unlock them. Later stages force you to switch on the fly (sometimes literally), and so becoming familiar with each form is key, or it would be if you even needed anything other than the lightning form to take out almost every boss you encounter. If you’re expecting anything close to the difficulty of the hardest Mega Man games, you’ll need to turn on the Retro difficulty when starting a new save file, which gives you a set number of lives and tougher enemies–compared with the unlimited retries of Modern mode.

In terms of presentation, Berserk Boy boasts a vibrant color palette and neat visual effects, like a disappearing shadow trail that appears as you run and jump through each level. Each world consists of three main stages that center on a particular element/biome, and these are accompanied by the signature sounds of composer Tee Lopes, so rest assured your ears are in for a treat. The ease with which you can switch Berserk forms via the L and R buttons in addition to the rest of the smooth controls make for a gorgeous and smooth ride across Berserk Boy’s multi-hour campaign.

Despite its strengths, the repetitive boss fights, lack of enemy variety, and tedious base defense segments throw a few sour notes into the upbeat and satisfying jazz that is Berserk Boy. Another issue is that the lab where you can buy upgrades doesn’t quite work as intended, with the health upgrades I purchased not registering at all towards my health meter. That the true conclusion of the game is gated behind collecting dozens of tokens across the game’s five worlds is a definite misstep, but the overall package will remain an enticing one for action platformer fans.

Berserk Boy offers a fast-paced diversion that will appeal to those who like the speed of Sonic and the transformations of Mega Man. It’s aesthetically pleasing from start to finish, and the gameplay shines through most of its runtime. A handful of issues keep it from putting both feet solidly in must-play territory, but all told it’s a good time and scratches that run, jump, and shoot itch.

Offline M.K.Ultra

  • is late to the party
  • *
  • Score: 15
    • View Profile
    • Games I'm Playing
Re: Berserk Boy (Switch) Review
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2024, 09:13:00 AM »
I did not see the developer listed, but I think it is Berserk Boy Games and was mostly developed by a single person, Zu Ehtisham.