He’s back! Your favourite low-poly hero who runs around like he’s just had an unfortunate accident in his pants has returned to kick some robotic backsides. I’m sorry, what do you mean you’ve never heard of Thunder Kid?
It’s barely been three months since Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor was released and, well, you can tell. The sequel – Thunder Kid II: Null Mission – is pretty much identical apart from a few cosmetic differences. Infact I could legitimately copy and paste my review of the first game and you wouldn’t be able to tell that I hadn’t written it for this one. Still, let’s do this properly. Think of this sequel as an additional level pack, which is a more accurate description of what you’re getting with Thunder KId II: Null Mission.
This time Thunder Kid is attempting a hostage rescue mission, as the robot empire strikes back after its pasting at the hands of our unlikely hero. However, that’s about as complex as the story gets because once again it’s just an excuse to shoot baddies and dodge bullets all over again. Oh and I wouldn’t bet against a third game getting released in the not too distant future…
Yes, in a quite severe case of deja vu you’ll be battling through various bullet spraying robots each with their own slight variations. Some familiar enemies return along with a handful of new robots who enter the fray. As before, there are also gold medallions to collect as you go, usually by correctly picking which way to turn at a fork in the road. In total there are eighteen levels set across six biomes each with a boss battle at the end, which are all very similar encounters.
I suppose that’s my main issue with Thunder Kid II: Null Mission. It’s incredibly monotonous. Bashing the fire button and avoiding enemy fire is all there is to it and what really magnifies the problem is that players have already done all of this before. It also again lacks challenge. Sure, there are a couple of sticking points and maybe the odd boss that will give you some problems, but after a couple of deaths you’ll have your strategy for success soundly figured out.
Thunder Kid II: Null Mission looks incredibly basic and for reasons which escape me, is optimised for Xbox Series X|S. Each set of levels are set in very similar environments, albeit with a slightly different colour palette. The rear view camera is back, along with Thunder Kid’s inability to turn and face any other way apart from forwards. The somewhat chaotic chiptune soundtrack returns and although it’s less offensive than the visuals, wears thin before long.
The good news is that Thunder Kid II: Null Mission does offer another 1000 in easy peasy Xbox Gamerscore. Before long they start rolling in simply for just playing the game, offering no real sense of achievement at all.
But in terms of positives I’m pretty much out of ideas because Thunder Kid II: Null Mission makes absolutely zero effort to improve on the weaknesses of the first game. As a result, forking out another few quid for barely an hour of dull, uninspired run and gun gameplay is something I simply cannot recommend.
Simply put, Thunder Kid II: Null Mission is plain lazy. Its gimmick is still not enough to build a game around, because that’s already been tried once before and hasn’t worked. As a result this one is null and void.
Thunder Kid II: Null Mission is on the Xbox Store