HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewThe Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection Review

The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection Review

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The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection is ‘Retro’ with a capital R. While other games look vaguely like they were released in the 8-bit era, the two Panzer games actually did get released onto the NES, albeit only a couple of years ago. Developed in NES Maker, both Panzer titles were the subject of a Kickstarter to get them ported onto the grey slab of a cartridge. Pixelcraft Games’ dream of getting thousands of players to blow across the bottom of their game was eventually realised. 

Fast-forward two years and we’re getting the two ‘The Adventures of Panzer’ games released on the Xbox. Helpfully packaged into one game (using the template that publisher Ratalaika Games often uses for retro re-releases, incorporating save game slots, cheats and rewinds), we now experience the joy of playing a couple of modern NES games. And it is a joy. While these two may not be important or particularly clever, they’re a chunk of fun.

The Adventures of Panzer Legacy Collection review 1
Most definitely RETRO!

Reason number one for playing The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection is its stupid, Dumb and Dumber humour. We’re not going to pretend that the writing is high-brow or even mid-brow, but we couldn’t help but hur-hur-hur like we were Beavis and Butthead. Because there’s a determination to expose the silliness of the fantasy genre by manufacturing some silliness of its own. 

Panzer is a Zapp Brannigan-like douchebag. He’s determined to get his old crew back together, but they want nothing to do with him. We can see why: he’s an arrogant buffoon, and he has nothing good to say about anyone. But he’s annoyingly good at stabbing people with swords, so the group is coerced into regrouping through threats, lies or the promise of bounty. Panzer is like Conan played by Conan O’Brien at his goofiest, and he’s got a hilarious objective that only gets revealed at the end of The Adventures of Panzer. It’s a doozy.

The Adventures of Panzer II begins moments after the first game, and the plot will either seem audacious or a retread of the first game. We were bought in, and we loved how the bosses – lovingly presented in a Mega Man-style selection screen – are barely even bad people. They’re just people who have crossed Panzer in the past. And considering Panzer’s skew-whiff sense of right and wrong, it leads to fun match-ups. 

In terms of how they play, the two games in this collection are extremely similar. They’re both action-platformers with the emphasis on action. Panzer has a single leap but a reasonably long sword (in comparison to his tiny sprite, anyway), so you’re jumping into the proximity of a bat or zombie and then leathering them with the attack button. For the first level of The Adventures of Panzer, it seems worrying: his arsenal is too limited to be fun. But then you see what it’s trying to do. 

The Adventures of Panzer Legacy Collection review 2
You’d do well to check out The Adventures of Panzer on Xbox

The Adventures of Panzer is a character-switching platformer. Over the course of levels, you gain characters like Grokk and Pugna, who can be switched to with a tap of the button. One character can turn waterfalls into floating platforms (as well as shatter enemies), while another has a looping bomb that can obliterate blue blocks in the environment. There are five in total, and they have enough separating their attacks that playing them feels different. 

What’s fascinating is how the two games accommodate the character-switching – and neither feels quite right. In The Adventures of Panzer, you can switch between them at any time. They all have their method of attacking an enemy, and they can all circumvent certain obstacles. But The Adventures of Panzer gets nervous about asking you to switch too often. More often than not, you can stick with one throughout the entire level, and you don’t have to switch at all. Perhaps the devs worried that constantly rotating through the characters would get boring?

Meanwhile, The Adventures of Panzer II has you picking the character before you enter a level. Which will you need? Your guess is as good as ours! So, you lurch into a level, only to find that the looping bombs would have been perfect. You chose wrong. Why these two unsatisfying takes on character-switching were chosen, when ever-so-slight adaptations of would have been more enjoyable, we don’t know. 

We’d also hesitate to call The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection slick. There’s something wrong with the way projectiles are handled, because you can be mashing the fire button but they’ll take their merry time firing, and even longer reloading. For a precision platformer, as The Adventures of Panzer II often can be, it’s a pain. We found ourselves retreating and taking things slow, simply because we couldn’t rely on the tools that had been given to us.

The Adventures of Panzer Legacy Collection review 3
A little scrappy, but a ton of fun

Adapt, though, and the difficulty of these games is perfectly pitched. They’re a single step into hard, pushing the limits of players who might breeze through a Mario or Ori game. But the levels are so short, and the checkpoints reasonably well spaced, that there’s a temptation to push beyond the sticking points. We found ourselves stretching ourselves more than we would in other indie platformers, and that’s testament to how The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection is structured. And hey, if you want the easy-peasy story mode, then you have infinite health and lives as an optional cheat. 

The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection is a little scrappy on the gameplay front, which isn’t too dissimilar to the NES games that it’s emulating. But it’s also a hoot, slathered in juvenile jokes that had us spraying Doctor Pepper out of our nose. 

We’d hesitate to call these two games great – they manage to be very similar while making very different mistakes – but they would have been worth a Blockbuster rental, back in the day.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Lots of game for your money
  • Made us chortle
  • Solid platforming
Cons:
  • Controls are a little too loose
  • Character-switching is handled oddly
  • Humour won’t be for everyone
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Ratalaika Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch
  • Release date and price - 26 January 2024 | £8.79
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Lots of game for your money</li> <li>Made us chortle</li> <li>Solid platforming</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Controls are a little too loose</li> <li>Character-switching is handled oddly</li> <li>Humour won’t be for everyone</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Ratalaika Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch <li>Release date and price - 26 January 2024 | £8.79</li> </ul>The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection Review
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