Friendships are a fickle thing. One day you are the best of mates, the next you are enemies. When this happens, what are you going to do? Will you try to build bridges and rekindle what is lost, or will you stand your ground and fight for what’s right? You must consider these questions and more in Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril.
Developed by Sivak Games and published by 8-Bit Legit, this is a retro-inspired platform title. Set in a wonderfully absurd futuristic world, you’ll enjoy a strange pixelated story. It captures the magic of platforming titles while testing your patience, skills, and ability to stay calm. Subsequently, it’ll make you swear, rage quit, and vow never to play it again.
Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is a tale of betrayal.
Two lifelong friends aspire to reach the pinnacle of their careers. They both want to be fighters, but one is seen as the golden boy. However, his success has only come about because of deception and underhanded ways. Subsequently, he is banished from the programme and his reputation is now tarnished. Fortunately for Timmy, though, this change in circumstances allows him to flourish. Free from his friend’s shadow, he can become the hero he is destined to be.
Though the story is hard-hitting and dramatic, it is as old as the hills. Furthermore, its familiar ways work perfectly with the Sci-Fi-inspired action. The gameplay revolves around an enormous fortress that is filled with aliens, traps, and massive bosses. Accordingly, you are forced to fight everything you encounter while avoiding every trap you face. Consequently, it isn’t unique, but it’s challenging, moreish, and brilliantly old-school.
Instadeath, upgrades, and tricky routes.
Like many retro NES games, Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is unforgiving. You’ll experience instadeath and tricky routes that must be traversed. Furthermore, there are Metroidvania elements to add to the challenge. What’s more, there are five difficulty settings, blocked paths, and upgradable abilities to help you progress. Consequently, it is confusing, tough, and undeniably addictive.
Though death is assured, you have unlimited continues at the last checkpoint you activated. This was great as you will die a lot! There are spikes, aliens that shoot projectiles, moving platforms, and more to contend with. On top of this, not every path is inaccessible until you obtain special abilities or keys. This was a nightmare that lures you down countless dead ends. However, it was a classic Metroidvania mechanic that increases the challenge.
As you progress, some brutal bosses must be slain. Each of these overlords has strengths and weaknesses. Yet, by using trial and error, you’ll defeat them one by one. As you overcome these heinous monsters, you’ll find one of three special powers. These increase your abilities and allow you to explore the labyrinthine world more thoroughly.
Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is an old-school classic.
As I said, the plot and mechanics lack originality, but they are fantastic nonetheless. This familiar style extends to the aesthetics as Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril retains its NES looks and sounds. The action plays out in a defined space. Subsequently, the bordered imagery is wonderfully old-school and works well on larger monitors and TVs. The simple sprites, bright colours, and basic backdrops were great to look at. What’s more, it was easy to identify the obstacles, and this was a small mercy.
The imagery is great for fans of nostalgia, but the audio is even better! The ear-piercing 8-Bit music is uncomfortable, shrill, and dated, but it’s also fantastic. The developers have incorporated unique songs into each special area, and this adds drama. Alongside the music are some excellent but basic sound effects. Sadly, these simple noises won’t wow you, but they work well with the theme, regardless.
Back to basics.
A remake of an NES game was never going to be complex! Therefore, the basic controls are easy to master. However, it would have been great if a tutorial was included. With no explanation of what to do, there is some unnecessary trial and error. Apart from this, the controls are responsive and well laid out.
Thanks to the Metroidvania elements, Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril has some longevity. Yet, once you complete it, there are no reasons to return. Yes, you can increase the difficulty, but I would have preferred a speedrun or an NG+ option.
Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril will test you.
This classic NES title is fun, colourful, and deceptively tough. Consequently, it will test you and punish your mistakes. I loved how raw the gameplay was, and the absurd and silly plot. Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is a perfect title for retro fans and a great port for modern consoles. I adored it and I recommend you to buy it here! The world needs a hero and only you are available. Put on your experimental suit, battle weird aliens, and better the dangerous fortress.