If you’re going to take your cues from a long-running series, you could do a lot worse than Shantae and Wonderboy. There’s a host of cracking games in the 2D action-platformer genre, and Golden Force looks like it might have what it takes to join them. Golden Force is out now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5 and Switch.
What do we like about Golden Force? There’s the looks, which are colourful pixel art bursting with constant action. We’re getting a bit of Gunstar Heroes here, some Rocket Knight Adventures there, and it wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Sega Saturn or Dreamcast. The music too, if the trailer is anything to go by, sounds like it’s got its period right and is adrenaline-pumping chiptune-rock.
Then there’s the focus on multiple characters and co-op action. You sense that there’s an eye to Golden Axe here, as you have a diverse cast with different abilities, and you can bring a mate in to pick up the slack whenever needed, whether that’s on the couch or online. The characters themselves look great: there’s the undeniably Shantae-looking Spina, a Wonder Boy-looking dragon called Drago, the wonderfully named Gutz (it might be Cutz: the font in the trailer’s a little unclear), and Elder, who probably gets tired of all these kids running about.
The storyline’s nothing to write home about, but that’s half the point. You are a bunch of mercs who only take a job if the coin’s right, but this time the apocalypse has arrived and the Demon King has invaded Muscle Island and made prisoners of all its inhabitants. There’s nothing left but to take the Demon King down, which means chopping through hordes of creatures as well as the King’s five generals. Textbook: five bosses before the big boss.
There are 22 stages in total, and there’s an emphasis on secrets, as finding them unlocks bonus stages. While there is a fair amount of platforming and puzzling, this is mostly about the melee combat, and you’ll be stringing together combos to get higher scores and greater treasures. Looks like this might be frantic.
- – Control one of the four mercenaries of the Golden Force.
- – Defeat the Demon King, his 5 Generals and his army of Monsters.
- – Complete all 22 Stages accross the four islands of Muscle Archipelago
- – Increase your combo, slash monsters and collect a mountain of gold.
- – Find all hidden items to unlock challenging bonus stages
- – Overcome all the challenges to complete the game at 100%
Golden Force is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S and starts at £16.74 from the Xbox Store. It’s also out on PS4, PS5 and Switch. Want a review? Our thoughts surrounding the Xbox version of Golden Force will roll out in time.
The Demon King has set his sights on Muscle Island, a hitherto heavenly and peaceful place where life was good. The dark figure has installed his army there and persecutes the population with the help of his generals. Wasting their last coins in taverns, the mercenaries of the dreaded Golden Force take advantage of their last vacation moments when they receive a new contract: to defeat this evil new ruler and reclaim the mountain of gold in his possession. When there is gold and the promise of a good fight, you can count on the Golden Force to save your loaves!