This year, we have finally seen the return of everyone’s favourite green amphibians. Everyone who has played the original Battletoads on the NES has memories of how hard it was, beating the crap out of the other person you were playing with or the speeder bike level Turbo Tunnel. Even though this game was extremely difficult, it did a lot of good memorable things. So, when I saw the trailer for the new Battletoads game coming to the Xbox One on Game Pass, I was excited. Though once I saw the new artwork, that looks like something from a Ren and Stimpy cartoon, I was a bit worried. It was different from the Battletoads I had grown up playing on the NES and SNES, but I was willing to accept a change.
There were a few things that made me really happy right off the bat. I love hearing the super catchy music that was played when you paused the game on the NES, in the background here. Having a choice for difficulty between tadpole, toad and battletoad is a great addition; it makes the game more accessible for anyone to play, no matter your skill level. Since I was playing a three player game with the boys, we just had it set on tadpole. They haven’t played enough difficult games to be up for the challenge of something harder. Playing Minecraft and just building houses hasn’t quite developed that skill for them yet. Pimple, Rash and Zitz are back, along with the Black Queen who has received an extreme makeover, she barely resembles herself from twenty odd years ago.
The other new addition to the game is voice acting. For me, I would rather just have speech bubbles than over the top annoying voices. After a while, I just didn’t want to hear characters, like the Black Queen, talk anymore. Sometimes silence is golden... especially if you are playing for a long period of time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the game, I just don’t like it as much as I was hoping I would. It’s not hard to figure out the reason either, besides the voice issue, this game goes out of it’s way to try and be funny. Most of the time it was just groan-inducing and cringey. I thought it might be because I’m older now, but even my kids weren’t laughing.
Most of the levels are beat ‘em up style, like Streets of Rage. Sometimes you have to jump from the foreground to the background, using your tongue, to take out all of the enemies and grab the collectibles. While you are beating up the enemies, you get combos based on how many different attacks you can land in a row. The more variety, the higher the grade. There wasn’t too much variety in the type of enemies you would fight in each level. It seems that there are just tons of the same guy everywhere, so it started to feel repetitive very fast. There are a few levels that just go on for too long, they could definitely be shorter!
My favourite level by far is the first speeder bike level. Instead of racing horizontally, like the Turbo Tunnel on the NES, you are racing vertically. This level was a ton of fun, especially when you are playing multiplayer and keep accidentally missing the jump or knocking each other off. If you are playing on the tadpole setting, as long as someone is still alive, the level keeps going and you can bring the other toads back. Later on in the game, there is another speeder bike level, this one is horizontal, but it requires you to hit a different button depending on what the rail is made of. The difficulty level here is definitely higher, especially if you are trying to play with someone else. Luckily, other players can jump in and out whenever they want, so I got a chance to tackle this on my own, it was clear the three of us would never be able to do it together.
Battletoads is on Xbox Game Pass, so if you are a subscriber you should definitely check it out. If you like beat ‘em up style games this is still a solid game. I don’t think I’ll have too many fond memories of this newest version, when someone brings up Battletoads I will always think of the original. It was so different and unique for its time. As of the time of this writing, we are on Act III Stage 7, so we will continue on and see what other things the game has in store for us. There is still time for the game to come up with something new to surprise the player. Maybe they can have a level where you have to throw something at the screen to defeat the enemy like in the first level of the original Battletoads, I would love that!
Battletoads (2019) (Reviewed on Xbox One)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
A fun and solid beat ‘em up with some awesome speeder bike levels tossed in. Unfortunately, the game tries too hard to be funny and the character voices can get quite irritating.