A Hole New World from MadGear Games is going to immediately call to mind other modern retro titles, most notably Shovel Knight. The game carries much of the same style feel, but A Hole New World brings enough new ideas to the table that it easily validates its existence.
This exciting little adventure tells the story of a Potion Master that must fight off the evil monsters that are invading your city from the Upside Down World. Only your potions have any effect on these baddies and so it falls onto you, the last of these Potion Masters to save everyone. It’s pretty stock for modern story, but works well with the retro atheistic.
But where the game really finds a special niche is thanks to said Upside Down World. You see, the baddies from this game live in a world where everything is upside down. This means that you’ll jump and shoot as you would expect from a game like this, but you’ll also have to do all that with everything upside down as you shift between worlds.
The game manages this by not having the traditional death pits. Instead, you simply fall upwards into pits that spits you into the Upside Down World. This alternate world is played upside down and really messes with your head, especially when you switch quickly between the two as enemies will also follow you between them.
It’s a frustrating experience at the outset, not because it doesn’t work, but because it makes you break down everything you grew up knowing with retro titles of this nature. Add this mechanic to the fact that A Hole New World is already a brutal game ala Mega Man, and you have something that makes you want to keep coming back.
The story mode features five worlds that are laid out like Ghosts and Goblins. It might not sound like a lot, but the difficulty really ramps up much like Ghosts and Goblins and will keep you busy for a good chunk of time. And because this is a retro inspired title you’ll also have to deal with some massive bosses that are a joy to take on and will push you to your limits.
And like Mega Man, once you defeat a boss you’ll earn their main ability so you can switch through potions on the fly. These new abilities add just enough so that each world not only looks new, but the gameplay stays fresh as well. A Hole In The World feels like it takes the main points of Mega Man and Castlevania, while adding something special that really makes it stand out.
A Hole New World is also pretty addictive thanks to the difficulty being in the games favor, instead of keeping people away. The developers have paced things well so you learn what you need to as you progress through the adventure. It a charming game that more people need to know exists.
The upside down gameplay is clearly what is going to steal the show, but only because it much more than some gimmick. Each world is essentially two complete worlds and the level design to make everything flow is pretty gosh darn impressive. It’s hard to find something to knock with this one and that’s not something that you can say with most game today.
It may not push the genre forward, but if you dig retro platformers and want yourself a good challenge, A Hole New World needs to be on your list of games to snatch up this year.
A copy was provided for review
// Promoted Stories