There is good reason you never heard of Ichidant-R before; it has a confusing name and was only released to Japanese arcades in 1994. Thankfully, Sega and M2 have ported this forgotten arcade title to Nintendo Switch under the SEGA AGES banner.
The easiest way to describe Ichidant-R is to compare it to other mini game compilations such as Mario Party or the WarioWare series. The player must complete a series of mini games before a countdown timer expires in order to save a princess from a demon. While not as involved as Mario Party and not as quick as WarioWare, this Bonanza Bros. spinoff is caught somewhere in-between.
All the mini games are rather creative and unconventional. For example, one game challenges the player to count the number of moving sea creatures on screen (easier said than done). Another has the player sharpening a pencil as fast as possible by rotating the analog stick. Sometimes the player will need to guide a train Pipe Dream-style to collect coins. Other times the player will need to shoot down a UFO. There is even a mini game about dancing monkeys. Once enough mini games have been completed and the player moves onto to the next set, a transitioning bonus game appears with an attempt to earn an extra life by collecting coins. All games are varied and are based around action, reflexes, observation, or puzzle solving.
As found in the previous work of M2, the emulation feels great and there are many quality-of-life options included. Whether adjusting the aspect ratio of the screen, tinkering with scanlines, or wanting to adjust the boarder, everything you have come to expect from M2 is here including multiplayer, online leaderboards, and plenty of gameplay options. In fact, the original Mega Drive version of Ichidant is also included, something M2 went out of their way to include. Just be warned, the text is in Japanese but if you played the arcade mode, players should have no trouble navigating this faithful port.
Ichidant-R is a wacky mini game compilation that feels exactly what it is – a forgotten, sleeper-hit gem of the past. Although the twenty mini games will start to grow old at a faster pace than modern titles, there is no denying the high quality charm of the gameplay and adorable visual style backed with M2’s emulation wizardry.
Not As Good As: WarioWare Twisted (GBA)
Also Try: Mario Party The Top 100 (3DS)
Don’t Forget About: Point Blank (Arcade/PS1/DS)