Retro games are pretty easy to make and play. With bit graphics and uncomplicated controls they are accessible to virtually anybody. But today you need a bit more than that. Unique features, a story – something to show that it isn't a ripoff of the past. Necrosphere does this.
You're a law enforcement agent of sorts who is shot during a shootout and arrive in hell, er, the Necrosphere. Once there you need to take clues from agent friends to find your way out and back to the world. This is a premise that isn't done as much nowadays, and set with a cop spin, it works quite well. I would have been happy just bouncing around different levels with no story, but this adds a nice layer.
There are literally two buttons for controls. This utilizes the Switch, one of the most complicated handheld systems ever, and gives it the control power of a Game Boy. Not that it isn't good. Few controls harkens back to the days of NES and even Atari. It works, and for what it's offering, it works well.
The graphics of Necrosphere are old school 8 bit. Besides a few moments (like anything involving fire) it looks like it could have been out of the Reagan administration. But it's weird. The caverns of the Necrosphere are pretty detailed. Different needed things look unique. It isn't just different colored blocks. It utilizes them and makes them look halfway decent. Costume changes even pop out for such a small figure. It was an improvement on classic to be honest.
Gameplay is what you'd expect from Mario or other jumper games of the era. Ledges, weird gravity things pulling you up, big things of fire danger, spike pits – the game has the usual assortment. And along with bubble jump pads (as in literal bubbles) you jump around to solve the puzzles on how to get out. Standard fare, but they also don't really make it super easy or super hard. It's pretty casual in figuring things out. It's not too addictive, but you feel accomplished for finishing a level. I was surprised at how easy going it was. I was ready to call this a Nintendo ripoff, but all it did was show that it was its own game.
Music is classic 80's bit music, but with more bars and scale. It's action mixed with horror and mystery. Think Lavender Town's theme from Pokemon mixed with one of those adventure route themes. That's each level, and again, it works. Sounds are the classic beeps, including that still cringy sound where a player gets burned that sounds like the computer just got fried. Overall it's well above average.
Early on the game moved slowly (8 bit games tend to look like this because it goes bit by bit and doesn't look fluid), but as soon as it got to the game part, there was not any to speak of. I played for awhile too. There weren't any real glitches either. Some places where I died I thought it wasn't fair that I died, but that was more getting mad at the mechanics of it. Just a real solid and tested game.
Necrosphere is the kind of game that would have done well in the 80's , and works just as well today. It cuts what was right about then and now, and makes a game that's really all to itself. Yes, it does borrow from a lot of other games, but instead of being an homage, it does it's own thing and does it well. It's a game that's fun and challenging and doesn't make you mad over a limited soundtrack. That's a special game. I had fun. With a little more polish this could have been more than a game going on nostalgia over past graphics being a big part (As well as being pretty limited in total offerings), but overall, pretty damn good.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.