The Sega Ages releases keep on coming so allow me to catch you up on the 4 most recent entries in Sega's retro series for Switch.
Wonder Boy in Monster Land Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Wonder Boy in Monster Land is the 2nd game in Westone's classic series and it steered the franchise in a whole new direction.
Although the original Wonder Boy was a straight-up 2D action game that was later ported to NES as Adventure Island, Wonder Boy in Monster Land added RPG elements to the mix. For starters, you're equipped with a sword that you slash to fend off enemies and as you progress, you'll acquire various pieces of armour and a handful of different spells as well as upgrade your sword. It's satisfying stuff but the core gameplay definitely hasn't aged well. Platforming can be a nightmare as you try and hop on skinny platforms while sliding around and close-range combat is downright irritating, especially against fast-moving enemies. On the plus side, this Sega Ages release includes Money Hungry Mode which makes earning money trickier and 3 Time and Score Attack challenges complete with online leaderboards.
Even as a huge fan of the series, it's difficult to thoroughly enjoy Wonder Boy in Monster Land in this day and age. That being said, playing it is a great way to experience the origins of the franchise that we know and love.Sega Ages: Wonder Boy in Monster Land gameplay video → More Wonder Boy games
Virtua Racing Review Switch ★★★★☆
Dating back to 1992, Virtua Racing was a revolution for arcade racing games as it features slick 3D visuals and tight gameplay.
Very few retro racers hold up nowadays yet Virtua Racing is a blast. First of all, the textureless polygon-filled visuals have a very distinct charm to them that I think looks fantastic. Also, listening to the tires constantly screeching with the occasional ditty whenever you pass a checkpoint makes for some satisfying audio. Anyway, whipping around corners as you strategically accelerate and brake feels awesome as the gameplay is tight whether you're using manual or automatic transmission. Plus, you can shift between a few camera angles which range from a first-person perspective to a faraway bird's eye view. You can race online and there's local multiplayer as well for up to 8 players. There are plenty of options, too, such as being able to play with motion controls, implement analogue acceleration and braking, and listen to the soundtrack. All of that being said, the slim selection of tracks to race on get repetitive rather quickly.
Even with decades of racing games behind us, Virtua Racing stands out as a super-fun racer that holds up wonderfully.Sega Ages: Virtua Racing gameplay video →
Puyo Puyo Review Switch ★★★★☆
The original arcade Puyo Puyo may not be well known here in North America but it marked the beginning of a top-notch puzzle series.
Although North Americans like me were likely introduced to the Puyo Puyo franchise via Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine or Kirby's Avalanche, the original arcade version is where the series really took off in Japan. Dropping simple blocks that consist of 2 coloured blobs in order to match 4 and hopefully start a massive chain reaction to bury your opponent in nuisance blobs is still a ton of fun and the formula hasn't really changed much since. I had a blast working through Arcade Mode while meeting the cast of ridiculous characters which frequently made me laugh out loud. Aside from taking on computer opponents, you can challenge others via online and local multiplayer matches. There may not be many extras in this Sega Ages release but it's a solid offering even without all the bells and whistles.
Seeing as it debuted in 1992, it's surprising that Puyo Puyo hasn't evolved much since its humble beginnings yet it's still great fun.Sega Ages: Puyo Puyo gameplay video → More Puyo Puyo games
Space Harrier Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Blasting strange foes away while flying around at high speeds sounds like a solid formula so let's see how well Space Harrier holds up.
When you think of classic arcade rail shooters, few games come to mind and Space Harrier will likely be one of them. You basically move your character around the screen as he propels himself forward and you shoot at basically everything in sight. It's action-packed and a ton of fun yet its simplicity makes it lack the longevity that many other arcade classics possess. Plus, constantly getting hit with projectiles, hazards, and scenery from seemingly out of nowhere is very irritating as it's nearly impossible to always react in time as well as keep track of every potential death trap that flies towards you. This is especially true when you consider that objects can conceal projectiles and such. That being said, it's still enjoyable if you're willing to overlook the frustration and relish in the mindless action.
This Sega Ages release allows you to control the Harrier with motion controls and there's also a Komainu Barrier Attack mode which makes you invincible to hazards but not projectiles. These additions are nifty yet the core gameplay remains rather shallow nonetheless.
Space Harrier's fast-paced action can be quite fun but its simplicity and annoying aspects will make your excitement quickly wear thin.Sega Ages: Space Harrier gameplay video →