NES-style Mega Man returns, sort of.
When a game wears its inspiration so clearly on its sleeve, direct comparisons between the two are inevitable. Such is the case with Trophy, an unabashed Mega Man clone, but also a competent one, for the most part. While the jump and shoot action remains largely intact, the signature weapon upgrades are noticeably absent. Fortunately, that deviation doesn't detract overmuch from Trophy's quality. What does, however, is cheap, frustrating enemy placement and fairly rudimentary level design.
The combination of good guy Dr. Sword and his robot friend Beeper, Trophy (the titular fighting robot) runs and guns through a total of eight initial stages and a final level that unlocks after clearing them. You can choose which of the stages to play and complete them in any order, but some like Train and Forest are easier than others. A couple are downright cruel in terms of their enemy placement and even the checkpoints where you spawn after dying. While the stages themselves feel very familiar to this lifelong Blue Bomber fan, they are also fairly derivative and even repetitive, the aforementioned Train level being particularly boring. Each stage ends with a large boss fight, and these range from manageable to challenging and even maddening.
Working in its favor is that the controls feel quite solid; jumping and shooting down all manner of robotic opposition is largely satisfying throughout. An odd hit box around your character means you'll land some tricky platforming jumps that you might have thought to be failures but also make contact with instant-kill spikes when you were certain you skirted past. Unfortunately, there's no button remapping (or any real options at all), so you're stuck with using A to jump and B to shoot.
The music is actually quite pleasant and adds to the 8-bit NES-style nostalgia play. The sound effects would not be out of place in a Capcom or Konami title from that era, and the visuals are crisp. With regards to performance, there is some obvious slowdown when multiple enemies and projectiles are on screen simultaneously, but it was definitely tolerable and dare I say familiar.
Hidden secrets in the stages allow you to increase your health meter or power up your blaster, adding to the size and strength of your bullets. If you get stuck, I found it worthwhile to move on to a different stage and hopefully acquire some upgrades to make previous challenges easier to overcome. Now if only there was an upgrade that allowed you to see each boss' health meter…
Trophy is a competent and enjoyable action-platformer that looks and feels like Mega Man, even if it falters in a few specific areas and doesn’t quite live up to that comparison. The game does enough to make it worth recommending to fans of 8-bit classics of yore, provided you can look past some of its poor level design and cheap deaths. At the end of the day, I'd award it a trophy somewhere in between participation and podium.