HomeReviews1.5/5 ReviewNape Retroverse Collection Review

Nape Retroverse Collection Review

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We were confused, so you may be too: Nape Retroverse Collection is not a compendium of 8-bit classics, unearthed from a vault somewhere. This is a collection of four modern games, constructed in an 8-bit style, and presented together as if they were a kind of museum piece. But they’re not. We hope that clears things up for you. 

Nape Retroverse Collection comes from NAPE GAMES, a Spanish game studio who have been putting out games as physical NES cartridges via Kickstarter, and is published by Jandusoft, who have been ramping up their output recently, albeit with – what we consider to be – a hit on quality. So, we were wary.

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The game opens with that museum-collection interface, making Nape Retroverse Collection look a bit like one of Capcom’s Arcade Stadium titles. There are four games on offer: Ploid, Uchusen, Uchusen 2 and Reknum Souls Adventure. Ploid is a Megaman-style action-platformer, Uchusen and Uchusen 2 are Gradius-style shoot-em-ups, and Reknum Souls Adventure is basically Legend of Zelda II.

Working down the list one-by-one, Ploid is probably the best of the bunch by the thinnest of whiskers. There’s a plot about aliens invading and the only way of defeating them is by finding several floppy disks, like an ‘80s pre-boot of Independence Day. The main character can jump, shoot and jump AND shoot, but doesn’t stray much further than that, and the aim is to navigate some mid-sized levels before defeating a boss at the end of each of them to grab the hallowed floppy disk. 

Compared to any other retro run-and-gunner, like Megaman, Metal Slug, Contra or Turrican, Ploid is lightweight to the point of being transparent. None of its individual elements hold up: you have an incredibly limited move-set and no upgrades;  the enemies don’t actively attack you, they instead move or fire randomly; bosses do exactly the same, but they take longer to kill; and levels could have been procedurally generated. They’re just a series of blocks to jump over. You could probably make better levels in Duplo.

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But it works, making it the best of a bad bunch. It might be flavourless and infinitely outdone by its competitors, but it’s possible to plod through the levels and reach the end with something approaching satisfaction. For one-quarter of £5.79, that’s alright, we guess. If you had to push us. 

Next on the chopping board is Uchusen, which is comfortably the worst shmup that we’ve happened to play. It treats space as a large pot of treacle, and it’s a real challenge yanking the ship up, down, left or right to move around. The levels auto-scroll as you manhandle your ship out of the way of approaching asteroids, and you can fire limply with repeated taps on the A button. Obviously, you can’t just hold the button to continuously fire, because that would be something approaching usability. 

After dodging three or four asteroids and a few enemy ships, you arrive at the Ploid, a boss that’s barnacle’d to the right-side of the screen. It can only be shot in its central eye, but it’s firing at you, so you have to strafe through that treacle while firing at it. On some levels, the Ploid won’t fire at all, giving up in a sulk. On one level, it fired its eye at us, making it impossible to complete the level. But what’s important is that every level plays out this way, and there’s an infinite number of them (we think – we gave up after a couple of dozen), and they don’t escalate in difficulty. They’re easy, identical and never-ending. And utterly rubbish.

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Thank heavens for Uchusen 2, which will no doubt improve on the stripped-back bones of Uchusen 1, right? No! Uchusen 2 is worse, simply because it has the audacity of being an exact copy of Uchusen. It’s the same flipping game, but with blood-red backgrounds and different text on defeating a Ploid. We can only imagine that it’s here to pad out the ‘Collection’, but it’s cheeky and I’m not going to stand for it, I tell you.

And so we come, battered and weary, to Reknum Souls Adventure. This is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not the best game with ‘Souls’ in the title. It’s a game that’s clearly in love with Legend of Zelda II, as it follows its structure line-for-line. There are the top-down, traditional Zelda bits where you are moving from screen to screen, hack-and-slashing enemies and looking for a path to somewhere interesting – a town or dungeon perhaps. Once in a dungeon, you’re in the action-platformer bits, where the view goes side-on and there’s more hacking and slashing, as well as some rudimentary platforming and even some bobbing around in water. Get to the end of these, and you will commonly fight a boss, before emerging into a town to chat with the locals. 

In theory it’s deeper than the other games in the collection combined, but the sections are all wobbly. The top-down bits are bland and without anything approaching landmarks, so you’re left fighting enemies, which is pointless, as they don’t drop anything at all, and moving through screen after screen after screen of green expanse.

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The dungeons have a little bit of exploration to them, as there are keys and locks to work through, but the enemies take a leaf out of Ploids’ book and are utterly random, so you’re mostly just getting out of the way of their chaotic flight-paths rather than fighting them as, again, they don’t drop anything. Engaging with them will only get you hurt, so you’re best off scarpering. 

Bosses are the same but with bigger life pools, while towns are full of characters who are poorly translated and don’t have anything of value to say anyway. In defense of Reknum Souls Adventure, there are some decent unlocks after completing dungeons, so you at least get new toys to play with. We’ll give it that.

Reviewing Nape Retroverse Collection has felt like running in a really crap marathon. We’re exhausted. None of the four games are good by anyone’s standards, but there’s so much shoddiness crammed into one package that we almost appreciate the effort in producing it. It manages to drain the life out of Megaman, Gradius (twice) and Legend of Zelda II across its four games, so, if you want to preserve your love for any of those games, we would encourage you to avoid handing over the £5.79 for Nape Retroverse Collection.

You can buy Nape Retroverse Collection from the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

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