HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewUfouria: The Saga 2 Review

Ufouria: The Saga 2 Review

-

Ufouria: The Saga 2 is a game that has historical baggage that is worth rummaging through. Its predecessor, Ufouria: The Saga, was a Sunsoft game for the NES, way back in 1991. Its main character, Hebe, was Sunsoft’s attempt to create an animal mascot, but was deemed too weird for western audiences. It got a limited release and promptly died a death, leading it to become a collector’s item. It wasn’t much of a critical darling either, but has since gained a following thanks to the Virtual Console and inclusion on a Sunsoft anthology title. 

That following is big enough for Ufouria: The Saga 2 to be greenlit by Sunsoft in collaboration with Red Art Games. A kind of half-remake, half-sequel, Ufouria: The Saga 2 is quite clearly a substantial glow-up on the NES original which, if you’re of a mind to check a video, wasn’t attractive even for 8-bit standards. 

Ufouria The Saga 2 review 1
A lovely art style

Sunsoft have wheeled out their crafting box and done something of a Little Big Planet with this remake-quel. This is a gorgeously tactile game that feels like it’s been knitted together by our nan. We were of a mind to reach in and grab a plush Hebe for a hug. Ufouria: The Saga 2 feels lovingly handmade, and in a way it was: many of the characters in the game were physically created and then scanned in for use as an art asset. 

The quality was enough for our kids to wander in and immediately state “ooh, that looks good”. Which is as much of a recommendation as we can give Ufouria: The Saga 2’s art style. Having played every last inch of it, we’d say that’s a very good thing, because kids are probably the best audience. 

It should be clear up front that Ufouria: The Saga 2 is not a difficult game. It took us a while to come to terms with that, in all honesty, as virtually anything from the NES era is diamond-hard and proud of it. We had all the wrong expectations: as we unlocked bosses and levels, we expected the next one to ramp up or spike in challenge. But while there’s a delicate gradient, nothing ever comes close to breaking a sweat. Ufouria: The Saga 2 is an accessible-to-all-ages platformer, and has no intention of being hard at all (even a New Game+, bought from the game’s vending machine – more on that later – was fairly friendly). It wants to be cute and endearing, and it will welcome you to explore its innards. 

With that PSA out of the way, Ufouria: The Saga 2 is there to be enjoyed. The structure is fairly expected for anyone that’s played a Metroidvania. Hebe lives in a forest that also happens to be smack-bang in the middle of the game world, which is convenient as it soon becomes a hub. Various worlds can be accessed (or not accessed: this is a Metroidvania after all) by moving in different directions from this tree. 

Hebe is a fan of popoons: little tribble-like creatures that he keeps under his bed and luzzes at enemies with one press to wield, one press to throw. He can bottom-bounce too, making him a surprisingly versatile warrior for a pigeon-penguin. But his day is interrupted by an alien who wields bumyons, slimy inverses of the popoons. He throws them at your friends, and the bumyons absorb them, mind-controlling them into attacking you. As First Contact goes, it’s not particularly welcoming. 

Ufouria The Saga 2 review 2
Ufouria The Saga 2 gets things right

That gives Ufouria: The Saga 2 its aims: to rid your friends of bumyons, and to take down the alien. There’s a neat unlock system going on here – hinted at in the pun of the title, which we realised way too late – which is that, when you defeat a boss, you unlock a friend. That friend is then available to switch and play as (with a press of LB or RB), and you have four of them to collect (Ufouria). One can swim, another can float, and the final one – well, we will leave at least one surprise for you. Suffice to say that the characters act as the upgrades that unlock farther reaches of the map. 

Ufouria 1 players will note some small differences. The routes on the way to bosses are procedurally generated, offering very slight remixes each time. That’s not a bad shout in the opening of the game, as there’s a fair amount of backtracking in reaching new areas, and even more so if you’re exhausting the game’s tin-can collectibles. 

But what won us over most was the addition of a vending machine. This has a dual currency, as the tin-cans stock the vending machine with wares, while coins – gained from the world or from challenges – can buy the stuff. We just didn’t expect the depth. There are dozens of unlocks here, and – somehow – Ufouria: The Saga 2 makes every last one transformative. There are unlocks that improve your combat prowess or hearts, while there are others that reveal secrets. Best of all are the unlocks that add entire layers to the game, introducing challenge rooms or teleport systems to fundamentally rearrange how you play. It’s one of the most rewarding progression systems that we’ve seen this year, and we were befuddled that it was attached to a simple-as-you-like platformer. It kept us playing for much longer than we might have done otherwise. 

Not that Ufouria: The Saga 2 is unenjoyable to play: it gets all the basics of jumping, bottom-bouncing and collectible-gathering right, all attached to a Metroidvania structure that feels completely familiar. But that didn’t stop us from getting some cravings. Because we wanted it to kick on, yet it stayed resolutely in the lower gears. 

Take the bosses, for example. They’re mostly blobs that are reminiscent of each other – bouncing, swimming or flying to test out your newly acquired skills. But we couldn’t help feeling that they were tutorials, more than anything else. Sure, they exercised our new characters and their abilities for a bit, but they were nothing more than an idle jog. 

Ufouria The Saga 2 review 3
Jump, jump!

The same goes for almost every aspect of Ufouria: The Saga 2. A minecart sequence looks like it might add something, but there are no loop-the-loops or more intricate moments than the odd higher or lower platform to jump onto. A Doodle Jump vertical level is fine, but still toothless: you’ll mostly get annoyed that you’ve fallen down and have to start again. There are ideas here, but sketches of them. They’re fine to tinker with, but never rise above fine. 

It’s damning Ufouria: The Saga 2 with faint praise, but this is a sturdy, enjoyable and accessible platformer. It’s almost impossible to dislike thanks to its gorgeous feltworks world, and it’s equally impossible to fall foul of its difficulty levels. 

But the accessibility hides a lack of edge: we would have loved for Ufouria: The Saga 2 to take more risks. A challenging boss here, an inventive Mario-like level there. We have no doubt that you, and particularly your kids if you have them, will like Ufouria: The Saga 2. But we can’t imagine you loving it.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Cuddly and tactile art style
  • Collection systems are top notch
  • Kept us playing past the end credits
Cons:
  • Lacks inventiveness
  • Likely too easy for most
  • Some unlocks would have been more welcome earlier
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Red Art Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 1 March 2024 | £20.99
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow Us On Socials

24,000FansLike
1,671FollowersFollow
4,922FollowersFollow
6,660SubscribersSubscribe

Our current writing team

2802 POSTS23 COMMENTS
1517 POSTS2 COMMENTS
1269 POSTS18 COMMENTS
1011 POSTS46 COMMENTS
856 POSTS0 COMMENTS
393 POSTS2 COMMENTS
116 POSTS0 COMMENTS
82 POSTS0 COMMENTS
78 POSTS4 COMMENTS
24 POSTS0 COMMENTS
12 POSTS10 COMMENTS
8 POSTS0 COMMENTS

Join the chat

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Cuddly and tactile art style</li> <li>Collection systems are top notch</li> <li>Kept us playing past the end credits</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Lacks inventiveness</li> <li>Likely too easy for most</li> <li>Some unlocks would have been more welcome earlier</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Red Art Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 1 March 2024 | £20.99</li> </ul>Ufouria: The Saga 2 Review
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x