Mega Cat Studios and #8-BitLegit, known for publishing new old games, just celebrated the launch of Roniu’s Tale on both physical NES cart and digitally on Switch. Inspired by puzzle games like Solomon’s Key and Adventures of Lolo, this Kunjee Studios developed action puzzler’s 47 levels will twist your brain and load it with nostalgia.
To be clear, this is a new 8-bit NES game just made playable as a stand-alone title on Switch. Meaning, it looks, plays, and sounds like a NES game because it is a NES game. The only difference between this Switch version and the NES physical version are the optional screen border (and price).
You play as Roniu, a wizard with some magic powers. From a top-down view, the goal is to make it to the exit on each single screened puzzle. The gimmick, however, is that the floor beneath you crumbles as you pass over it, eliminating the possibility of backtracking. Since Roniu is a wizard, he can leap over gaps, shoot fireballs to defeat enemies, and pass through some objects. In other words, gameplay is built around trial and error. Expect to die a lot.
For better and worse, it plays like a NES game. While it nails that classic retro vibe, players are subjected to quality-of-life features from a late 80s style puzzler. For example, there is no built-in save feature. Instead, there is a multi-character password system to manage. The player has 3 chances to complete all levels in one world or be forced to restart from the beginning. There is no built-in tutorial so players will need to experiment to understand the gameplay. In fact, it took me numerous attempts just to complete level 1 and I actually beat it by quickly sneaking my way around the one enemy (the game instead wants you to kill the enemy with a fireball but I didn’t realize I had this ability until after the fact). You also must watch the unskippable opening cutscene each time.
Since this is a NES game, do not expect your hand to be held. It is unlikely you’ll finish a stage on a first attempt, so patience and time are required to reach the end. To be clear, this is not a knock of the gameplay or game design. Me, I grew up on the NES difficulty but young players might not understand this level of strain put on the player. These are tricky, hand-designed puzzles and will easily take hours to clear. To reach the full nostalgia factor, go in blind and don’t use an online guide. However, if you want to be a cheat, this is where the password system becomes more favorable than an auto save feature since you can jump to almost any point in the game with the right code.
The music is also exceedingly well done and fits the top-down tile-based puzzle gameplay. The occasional cutscene stills are also charming but it would be nice to have the option to skip them if desired.
Fans of Little Medusa will probably feel right at home with Roniu’s Tale. While it is a new, fun NES game, the trial-and-error gameplay might not be for everyone. But for those looking to extend the life of their NES, this is a solid title to add to the collection.
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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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