2017's Wonder Boy Returns was a mildly disappointing reimagining of the classic so let's see if this new Remix version is any better.
Before we get started, I highly recommend reading my Wonder Boy Returns review if you're unfamiliar with the original release as I'll spend the majority of this review comparing what's different this time around. For starters, I'm glad to say that the core gameplay has improved drastically. The 2 main aspects that are now implemented much better are that the camera is pushed further back thus allowing you to see what's ahead and controlling your jumps is more accurate here. In the original release, it was difficult to see oncoming hazards and enemies and moving left and right after jumping was super-stuff. Now, platforming is still challenging yet whenever you perish, it feels like it's your fault; for the most part. Additionally, odd control issues like not being able to turn around in time are fixed here which makes the overall gameplay much more streamlined, tight, and satisfying.
On top of the fixed core gameplay, Wonder Boy Returns Remix's graphics are much better. Along with the camera being pushed back, the interface is less obtrusive and enemy sprite animations are much more fluid and are a huge improvement over the original game's which had enemies that looked like they were missing more than half of their animation frames. The music is generally the same and the soundtrack is full of catchy simple tunes that make playing it all the more fun and the effects are charming as well.
One addition that's very cool is the fact that you can charge Tomtom's axe and Tanya's boomerang which not only makes their weapons much bigger, it also allows you to destroy rocks and such. It may sound like a simple extra mechanic but I found charging my weapons to clear out hazards as I ran through the stages to add a whole new layer of fun. That being said, I wish there were more modes to enjoy as you only get 3 difficulty settings: the easiest of which grants you invincibility except for falling down pits and the most difficult tasks you with completing the whole game without continuing. So, if you're up for a substantial challenge, try beating that mode!
Although Wonder Boy Returns Remix sounds like a huge step up from its vanilla version, there's a surprising amount of content that's been removed. First of all, the unique bosses including the iconic giant pink octopus have all been replaced with the same generic boss that shows up at the end of every fourth stage except with a different head. There are also only 32 stages compared to Wonder Boy Returns' collection of 40. Next, even though you can snag Tanya dolls, they're no longer collectibles. Instead, you can try to beat your time and score for each stage which is essentially the only form of replay value. Last but not least, some platforms slide back and forth or up and down out of sync with other platforms which forces you to wait for a few cycles before you can safely jump. This has always been a pet peeve of mine because good platformers have everything move in tandem which is still challenging.
As a huge Wonder Boy fan, I enjoyed Wonder Boy Returns Remix but it's definitely not a complete improvement over 2017's less than stellar offering. The fact that it's missing a lot of its content simply doesn't make much sense at all.
- + Gameplay is improved in many ways from the original Wonder Boy Returns
- + Colourful visuals and solid animation
- + The new charge attack is pretty cool
- - Fewer stages, bosses are more generic, and collectibles are removed
- - Some platforms move erratically
- - Could use additional modes