Super Wiloo Demake is just mediocre. As a 2D platformer, it doesn’t do anything that a million other games in the genre haven’t done. Wiloo Demake doesn’t even execute any of these worn ideas remarkably either. Everything from the game’s level design, enemy behaviour and collectibles are all too familiar and, often, it feels as if it only includes these tropes to tick boxes. Even if Super Wiloo Demake doesn’t work as a nice throwback or a creative, fresh platformer though, it still manages to be a laid back, cheap experience.
Wiloo’s level design is perhaps its most uninspired aspect. Levels are pretty much just A to B affairs, with very little opportunity for finding secret paths and so on. Many of its challenges are repeated throughout the entire game, making Wiloo feel even more shallow. Seeing ideas from the first few levels repeated in the last few is seriously disappointing and demonstrates a lack of ideas.
Some of the game’s level design isn’t just uninspired, but ridiculous. Several levels include tight tunnels with no space to jump. For a genre all about jumping on enemies, over obstacles and toward platforms, this decision is mind-numbing. Many times the best tactic would just be to wait at the entrance, lure out all the enemies and run through these spaces; killing any momentum. A lot of the time, moving platforms, paths to collectibles or just the way forward is actually covered by the foliage at the bottom of the screen. It’s another example of level design that doesn’t require any skill, strategy or thinking to get through and is just a weird choice. On the other hand, some stages can be completed without running into any enemies at all.
The enemies in Super Wiloo Demake are similarly plain and lack any kind of variety. The land based enemies are just different coloured squares with angry faces. The underwater threats are literally fish. All of them simply move left to right, meaning there’s no strategy or skill involved in getting rid of them, just patience. Think about what Mario would be like if the only threat were Goombas.
At the end of every world there are bosses that spice things up to some degree. Beating them requires the same strategy of jumping on their heads but at least their behaviour is varied. One of the best bosses requires you to dodge their punches and then jump on their hands to reach their heads. However, that’s pretty much as creative as they get. Wiloo’s bosses won’t offer anything that fans of the genre haven’t already seen and there certainly aren’t any surprises.
Power-ups do stack up better in relation to other aspects of Wiloo’s gameplay. There are only four, and while none of them are terribly creative, they’re all relatively fun. There’s the turtle costume that allows you to traverse water quickly; the unicorn costume gives you the ability to shoot projectiles; the armadillo power-up lets you roll through enemies; and the bee costume allows you to fly anywhere. These all add some variety to the game and the unicorn costume alleviates some of the frustration with the game’s restrictive level design. The bee costume in particular sort of breaks the game, since you can pretty much bypass any challenge.
The actual act of moving and jumping is also mediocre at best. For a pixel platformer, Super Wiloo Demake is disappointingly imprecise. This is especially obtrusive because of Wiloo’s one-hit-kill system. Even if you make a small error in judgement it’s game over, straight away. There are checkpoints half way through all of the levels but compared to Celeste’s snappy respawns or Mario’s health system, Super Wiloo falters.
Collectibles like coins and special coins are sadly redundant. In the best platformers collectibles are integrated into other parts of the game. For Banjo-Kazooie, jiggys would allow you to progress to other worlds. In Super Mario, collecting enough coins would give you more lives. And in Celeste, Strawberries were an incredible way to add extra challenge to the game.
Alternatively, Super Wiloo Demake does nothing creative with the concept. Coins do literally nothing. If you collect enough special coins you can access bonus levels – which are card mini-games – that might give you power-ups. These special coins aren’t cleverly hidden and don’t require extra special reflexes either. Some of them are even in plain sight, on the way through the level.
To be fair to Super Wiloo Demake on Xbox One, it is incredibly cheap. If you’re an achievement fanatic it isn’t too much of an investment at all and you can easily gather 1000 gamerscore in less than an hour. Most of the achievements are for collecting a certain number of coins that are littered literally everywhere. You won’t even need to complete the game to get 100% since one of the achievements is gained by beating only the second boss in the game.
Super Wiloo Demake takes heavy inspiration from 2D platformer classics… but maybe a bit too much inspiration. Wiloo never tries to execute an idea that hasn’t already been done in other games of the genre and, more importantly, it doesn’t try to expand on any of the tropes that it does take. If you mix that with the odd level design, simple enemies and plain aesthetics, all you have by the end is a cheap way to get a 1000 gamerscore.