Nefarious by Starblade Games and Digeratti for the Nintendo Switch is a throwback side-scrolling platformer with a twist: Instead of playing the good guy trying to save the princess, you’re the bad guy out to kidnap her!
I’ll get right to it, gang, Nefarious is a lot of fun, even for a guy that has traditionally sucked at this genre of game.
I had zero Mario and Sonic skills. Zero.
You know the drill, move cute little guy from one side of the screen to another while avoiding pits, besting foes and overcoming jump-related obstacles. Starting right there with the movement of Crow, the evil villain you will grow to love, this game is slick. Jumps are easy to pull off, without that Mario Bros slide and Crow’s punch and grenade attacks are simple and effective ways to dispatch his foes. While enemies do get progressively more challenging to beat, I never once felt like it was the game’s fault that I wasn’t winning, just that I wasn’t good enough to do so.
The graphics that support the action of the game are similarly enjoyable. Clean, simple characters and environments that feel like a 16 bit + level of style and quality. Sure, it’s not even in the league of anything post N64, but it’s not supposed to be. Worlds are big, movements are clean and nothing slows down for even a second.
Meat and potatoes of graphics and control aside, Nefarious is just fun to read along with as Crow puts into play his master plan to kidnap Princesses from different realms to power an ultimate evil machine for world domination.
Each Princess has a unique world, carry feature (wings with bug princess, the dwarven princess rides you and throws axes, etc.), bodyguards, and of course, a hero that tries to rescue her, which is one of the best parts of the game.
First of all, the heroes are really funny and their dialogue is well written, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Secondly, because you are the bad guy, you get to pilot the Dr. Eggman style death machines when you battle them! I can’t stress enough how much fun these battles are, even if they are much harder then they seem. Punching robots, swinging wrecking balls, so much good… er… bad stuff to do!
Something else I really enjoyed about this game is that it felt like a much fuller gaming experience then other indie titles I have played. The story is fully realized, the characters have personalities, and you can spend some quality time exploring Crow’s flying lair, meeting his minions, and spending points on upgrades.
From top to bottom, I have to give credit to Nefarious for an original, fun and well put together gaming experience. This thing would have been a re-renter at Blockbuster Video for my Sega Genesis back in the day, no question.
So, if you have a few bucks or Nintendo e-shop coins burning a hole in your pocket and miss a simpler era of gaming, Nefarious will provide you with just the right mix of nostalgia, challenge and entertainment.
Til next time, bleeps and bloops, ya’ll.