LifeisXbox’s Wonder Boy Collection review | Classics have been quite popular lately, with many making comebacks to present-day consoles. Not too long ago, we saw that the beloved game Wii Sports made its way to the Nintendo Switch. And what about Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX, which was rereleased around this time last year. Safe to say that we can expect more remakes of older games to follow. Of course, I’m not just casually mentioning this, and yes indeed, you guessed it, we are talking about an old-school game today! The first Wonder Boy game was released back in 1986. Many more games, remakes and compilations followed since then, with the latest being today’s review subject: Wonder Boy Collection.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Nostalgia | There is no doubt that Wonder Boy Collection is quite nostalgic. With four titles, OG players can relive the glory days of old-school gaming. We have the original Wonder Boy (1986), Wonder Boy in Monster Land (1987), Wonder Boy in Monster World (1991), and Monster World IV (1994). That’s quite a few hours of gameplay there. I do believe that this collection of games can be fun for both old and new players. Starting off with the first game in the franchise, Wonder Boy is a fun, yet very challenging arcade platformer where you can walk, run and even skate your way toward your beloved girlfriend. Of course, Tom-Tom is as adorable as ever! Since I’m not very good at facing platformer challenges, I had quite a difficult time advancing in this title, to be honest. In the sequel called Wonder Boy in Monster Land, we are greeted by some welcome RPG elements. While these are quite nicely done, the real power of the gameplay comes forward in Wonder Boy in Monster World. Both show signs of their age, but they are still, without a doubt, amazing games given the time they were first released. Now, my personal favorite was without a doubt Monster World IV where girl power got the upper hand. This is the first game that features a female protagonist called Asha and offered a really fun time with plenty of opportunities to save along the way.
- Quality of life improvements | Since these four games are already quite old, releasing them in their original form would probably make them a tad too difficult. I do believe that we as humans have become lazier in some ways, and expect some quality of life improvements. And for someone who often dies in games (yes, it’s me), these were definitely very welcome. My favorite addition to this collection is definitely the ability to save your game whenever you want. Rather than having to wait for specific save points, the game was made a lot easier by providing it with this option. The fast forward and rewind features were also really nice to have and allow for smoother gameplay. Other than this, we also got some neat display options and screen filters.
- Graphics and sound design | There is just something about old-school game graphics that makes me happy. The art style of all four Wonder Boy games is so vibrant and colorful, that it will be guaranteed to cheer you up. Even though the games all have this annoying border that I couldn’t get rid of, I still enjoyed discovering the variety of environments, characters, and enemies. An art gallery is also added but I did not care too much for this, maybe because I’m not a die-hard Wonder Boy fan! Now, for the sound aspect. I can be pretty straightforward here: it’s great! The overall soundtrack was very satisfying and uplifting, and the required sound effects were in place. Whether you’re killing enemies or discovering key items, the included sounds will definitely help guide the experience.
- Lack of tutorials | I ended up having some issues with the controls in the Wonder Boy games, I’m afraid. I feel like the game could’ve done a better job at explaining the controls. Right now, there is just very limited information on them and the options menu talking about them is very limited. Even after a few hours of gameplay, I still found myself struggling with clicking the right buttons. The controls are customizable, but I don’t know, I still felt like guidance or a tutorial of some sort would’ve been nice to have. I mean, overall guidance in the game is very vague. I didn’t have that much trouble with it, but I can see how the few ‘puzzling’ aspects of the game might be confusing to some.
What we Disliked
- Not a complete collection | So, basically there were two collections released this year. One is called ‘Wonder Boy Collection’ (which we are reviewing today) and the other is called ‘Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection’. While the former only contains the four games (Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder in Monster World, and Monster World IV) across four versions, the latter actually contains a more complete array of games, including the same four games, plus Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap and Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair. Featuring 21 versions, nonetheless! However, the Anniversary edition is a physical limited release only, so that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Which I understand, honestly. I’m also not for the idea of releasing two different versions.
How long to beat the story | 20 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | No achievements on the Nintendo Switch
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂