Aborigenus is a side-scrolling action platformer with some small RPG elements. Originally released on PC, this little retro style game is now available on the Nintendo Switch. The story is set in a primal world where you are tasked with rescuing your fellow tribesman in what turned out to be a fun but short adventure.
The first thing you’ll notice with this small budget title is its retro visuals. We seem to be living in a world where these modern retro-like games are extremely common. I’ve played and reviewed a fair few of these over the past 12 months and I feel it has now got to the point where developers need to be quite creative and original to stand out from the pack (look at Undertale for a great example of this). So does Aborigenus do enough to be memorable? Not quite but that doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of fun, especially if you’re looking for something you could play and be done with in one quick hendheld session.
Gameplay is clearly the most important part of a game like this and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s nothing complicated here, you run, jump and attack. There are frequent checkpoints and the platforming aspects are relatively simple but enjoyable none the less. Enemies range from chickens to snakes to weird rock creatures. All of which you can choose fight with your handy spear (as well as other unlockable abilities I won’t spoil) or just jump on past to try finish the level as quickly as possible. There’s nothing here too challenging and most players who love side-scrolling platformers will likely find this too easy and will breeze through it with next to no effort. The only frustration I really felt in my short playthrough was part of a level where I needed to backtrack to gain a new ability whilst only having the one checkpoint quite far from where I needed to be. Basically meaning I needed to backtrack to a certain point and then get back to the checkpoint without dying otherwise I’d have to start the entire process again. Aside from that there was nothing in the game that really challenged me to concentrate too hard.
It’s a shame that my favourite part of the game was the end, it’s a shame because that was the one and only boss fight in what turned out to be an incredibly short experience, even for a budget title. The boss fight was the first time I was really forced into getting into the combat properly and made me realise that this is exactly what I wanted from this game. Just as I conquered the boss on my third try, the credits hit. I was slightly in shock as I’d only been playing for around 50 minutes in total and left me thinking I may have accidentally downloaded the demo. Turns out that was it and there’s only three levels which now I know what I’m doing, I could easily complete in half hour or less. But is there a reason to go back and play again?
It’s clear that the developers expect players to experience multiple playthroughs as there’s the small RPG elements such as levelling up and gaining new abilities which if you’re only doing the one playthrough, seems pointless. Although the three levels in the game do have different ways to play them such as taking a different route or choosing whether or not to fight every enemy, it’s not quite enough to get me excited to play again straight away. Maybe I’ll go back to it again when I’ve got half an hour to kill on a train journey but for the time being I’m pleased with my quick one and done.
I was very disappointed to find that the audio was a dull blend of generic retro themes and sound effects with little to no character. This is quite a let down as the quirky soundtracks are something I really enjoy in these modern retro games, but if I ever go back to Aborigenus then I can guarantee I’ll be muting the game in favour of my own music. The story as well was nothing to write home about and although the text based narrative was enough to give the player a reason to go on, it’s far from memorable and that’s no surprise given the type of game this is and how long it lasts.
To summarise, Aborigenus is a fun little retro platformer which I had a great time with. It’s just a shame that time was less than an hour long. The major selling point for me is that this is now available on the Nintendo Switch (this was reviewed on a Switch Lite), meaning that if you’re well into your side-scrolling classics and have half hour to an hour to kill on a bus ride or break at work then this works as a great little one-time experience at a more than reasonable price. In fact at the time of writing you can pick this game up for £1.79 (usually £4.49) on the Nintendo E-Shop and I can promise that is quite the bargain! The story and sound never do enough to make this stand out in a very crowded market but that doesn’t stop the gameplay from being a lot of fun. It’s actually a compliment to the game that my biggest issue was that I just wanted more by the time it’d prematurely ended.
I give Aborigenus on the Nintendo Switch a: