This Classic Gets Some Modern Love
Review by Edward Varnell
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
(Originally Reviewed for Nerds Gone Rogue)
In the age of remakes and remasters, developer Lizardcube and publisher DotEmu have given the Sega Master System classic, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, a refreshing new coat of paint. With an art style that’s reminiscent of the Sunday funnies, a jaunty soundtrack, and challenging platforming, Lizardcube has nailed an improved look and feel to the 1989 version. As Wonder Boy (or Wonder Girl, you can choose!) you are cursed after defeating Mecha Dragon, becoming a Lizardman. After that introduction, it continues it’s straight forward narrative through visual story telling. It’s a wonder that shouldn’t be overlooked, even if it shows it’s age in some areas.
As you progress, you’ll gain new forms to tackle the different areas and bosses as you see fit with fun abilities. Their are five unique abilities you’ll get, including the previously mentioned Lizard-Man, which can crouch, Mouse-Man, who can walk on specific walls and enter small spaces, Squid-Man who is able to swim, Lion-Man who has a vicious vertical attack and smash blocks, and of course, Bird-Man, who can fly. Combining each of these forms’ abilities to traverse and take on enemies provides a nice variety in gameplay, which was something unique for the time. But with these unique powers comes some weaknesses to balance them out. For example, Mouse-Man’s attacks are too weak to hit the larger enemies and Lion-Man is slower because of his power. It really makes you explore the balance and tradeoffs.
The one issue I had throughout my playthrough was the slippery landings when platforming, which made me feel like I didn’t have complete control over the character. It feels a lot like Luigi in Super Mario Bros. 2. Some of the platforming needs to be precise and it’s really hard when all of the platforms feel like ice. It’s a minor grievance but worth noting because it does get frustrating.
Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap is a heartfelt, well-done remake. It’s two to three hour campaign might not justify its price at first glance, but if you account for the fantastic art along with its soundtrack and the secrets you’ll find throughout, you’ll be more than satisfied. Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap is a great addition to your Nintendo Switch Library.
4 out of 5 Yoshi Coins
You can find Edward Varnell on The Boss Rush Podcast, Nintendo Pow Block, and Optional Opinion.