Narita Boy is a bizarrely beautiful take on the pixelated platformers of yesteryear. We played the demo to see if it’s a fever-dream worth catching.
While playing through the first hour of Narita Boy I alternated between a state of near complete bewilderment and being astonished by the enthralling alien atmosphere. From Salvinsky’s awesomely retro intro music to the abrupt ending of the demo, I was transported into a captivating world that was just a little difficult to comprehend.
The game starts with a genius computer game designer seemingly having his memories absorbed into one of his own creations. It should be noted that the game designer is famous for creating a best-selling video game called Narita Boy – it’s all very meta and has got some strong Tron vibes going on.
Once this narrative has been established by a brief cutscene, you are introduced to the world inside the game. This is where shit gets really trippy. The video game world has been infected with a malicious virus called HIM; the entity responsible for stealing the creator’s memories. You play as a pixelated knight that is tasked by The Motherboard to find the Techno-Sword and defeat HIM. It’s a lot to get your head around.
As you journey through the world of Narita Boy, you will come across some truly remarkable vistas and a bunch of fascinating imagery. Many of the characters you meet have human-like bodies with computer monitors for heads.
There is a strong religious undercurrent that runs through the game; priests and disciples litter the halls of buildings and giant technological beasts will speak to you about destiny and prophecy. The ghost in the machine is actually a whole civilisation.
The Narita Boy gameplay is relatively straightforward. You run and jump your way through the world until you come across an enemy, then you slice the enemy up into small pieces. It’s a process as old as video games and it just works.
As you progress through the game, you acquire new moves that will help you defeat more challenging foes. I was particularly fond of a move that involved ripping open my face and unleashing a horrible beam of pixel devastation at everything in my path.
It’s a simple gameplay system that is brought to life by great-looking pixel animations. It fits perfectly with the retro nature of Narita Boy, harking back to games like Castlevania and Double Dragon. Importantly, these simple gameplay mechanics don’t detract from what Narita Boy does best; let you explore this wonderfully atmospheric world and uncover the mysteries that lie at the centre of its creation.
The Narita Boy demo left me really impressed and I can’t wait to get my hands on a full copy of the game. Currently there is no release date, however, it has been announced that it will be coming to Nintendo Switch, Steam, PS4 and Xbox ONE.
For more details head over to the official site here.