You might recall that Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap was one of the sleeper hits of 2017 for me. I have nothing but praise for it. Generally I’m a sucker for this formula of adventure game, which Zelda and Metroid are good examples of. The Sega Master System title Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Curse, which the Switch title was a remake of, did it especially well.
The only thing I’m not crazy about is the art style. I preferred the hand drawn style of the Switch remaster. But from what I’ve seen I am not the only one to say this, and the developers have taken note. They’ve long since reworked the graphics to be more like those seen in the Switch remaster of WB3.
If you say that it looks like more of the same, that’s a compliment imo. After finishing the Switch remaster of WB3, I wanted more. I am unashamed of that. But there are also be many new things. All but two of the animal transformations are new. There are new combat moves, different armor and weapons are visible on your character, there are new rare items with new special traits, and more.
Some of these look like gag transformations. Like the dragon form in WB3 that was essentially useless, the snake form looks like something foisted on you for a temporary comedic challenge. Lion man is back from WB3. Frog man looks like the replacement for the Pirhana man transformation. Pig man can detect hidden stuff, as irl pigs are used to find truffles.
Bosses look a lot more elaborate as expected, since they aren’t designed around the constraints of an 8-bit game. This is an all new adventure built from the ground up for modern hardware, which sadly means no optional 8-bit graphics and music you can switch to. But it will expand gameplay possibilities in ways I can’t predict.
I thought the remaster was a one-off. I couldn’t imagine they’d give me exactly what I wanted like this. What a delightful surprise, and one I had no idea would turn out so great. I’ve already got it on Switch but it will be released on PC and a few other platforms as well some time in the coming year.
This is a series which hasn’t historically known what it wanted to be. At first it was an Adventure Island clone. Then it was a forced scrolling arcade platformer/shooter. But now it seems to have solidified its identity as a Metroidvania style fantasy adventure game. With any luck this will be just the first of many sequels. Have a look at some gameplay below:
Also check out the development blog to see what went into making this fabulous game.
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