マイケルの不思議な冒険 (Michael’s Magical Adventure)

I did a double take when I saw the screenshots for Michael’s Magical Adventure.  I mean, look at it!

I know, right!  The resemblance is uncanny!

It looks just like Teddy Ruxpin!

Teddy had no comment.

Oh, and maybe Super Mario Bros too.  Just a little bit.

I wish it had played more like Super Mario Bros.  It might have been more fun that way.  Michael’s Magical Adventure really does try to invoke the look and gameplay of Nintendo’s classic franchise.  It just fails miserably at playability.

I’m not the only one who had a chuckle at the brazenness of Michael’s Magical Adventure.  It’s Super Mario in everything but name.  Instead of Mario, you’re bear.  Instead of Goombas, it’s rabbits.  Instead of Spinys, it’s porcupines.  Instead of turtles, well, it’s still turtles.  You also traverse all the Mario standbys.  Generic plains, icy hills, and haunted houses all make an appearance.  Now, just to be on the safe side, Mario wasn’t the only property they plundered.  There’s jungle-themed levels where you hop across the heads of alligators, just like in Pitfall.  And then there’s the final boss fight against your own shadow, just like in Zelda II.

It all sounds so great, and if it worked it would be.  Unfortunately, the game is riddled with control issues and glitches.  Since I’m a total control freak, I’ll focus on the controls.  About the only thing the game did get right was mapping jump to the A button.  Yet, everything else about the jumping is wrong.  It’s slow, slippery, unresponsive, and inaccurate.  And if I could find more mean words to describe it, I would.

Part of the problem is related to holding down the X button to run.  There’s never a point where you won’t want to run, yet you have to hold a button down to accomplish this.  If only there was, say, a special joystick that could interpret various degrees of pressure in a way that could map walking and running without the need to also hold a button down.  I know, wishful thinking on my part, but we still live in an era where we can only dream about such outlandish space age technology.

Not that it would help much.  Michael’s Magical Adventure needs some serious debugging.  I encountered many instances of getting stuck in blocks, or getting stuck floating in the air after jumping off a vine.  Even when the game’s engine wasn’t crapping out on me, the level design brought my blood to a boil.  In particular, two auto-scrolling vertical levels had me ripping my hair out.  The level design does get to be a bit too much later in the game.  To make up for this, you get access to a cosmic hamburger if you die five times in a single level.  Eating it will make you impervious to enemy damage for the entire stage.  On one hand, I liked it because I’m convinced some stages are impossible without it.  On the other hand, I felt like the game was patronizing me.  “Oh, you can’t get past a couple of little bumble bees?  There, there.  Eat this and just waltz up to the finish, you poor little thing.”

Hey, fuck you game.  Most of the time, it was the jumping physics and not the enemies that got me.  Ultimately, Michael’s Magical Adventure is exactly what I figured it would be: a poorly executed Super Mario clone without shame.  For some people, that’s all they want.  I’ve already seen it with this game on Twitter.  People have called it “Epic” or “Ace” or “Excellent.”

No, no, and no.  Why do people insist on devaluing words?  The Odyssey by Homer is an epic.  The Red Baron was an Ace.  The blooming onion at Outback Steakhouse is excellent.  Michael’s Magical Adventure is none of those things.  It’s just a bad video game.  And even if you convince yourself otherwise, it’s not going to bring your childhood back.  The nostalgia factor is certain to drive its sales, because 30-something gamers will grasp at absolutely anything that resembles their cherished childhood treasures.  Games like this are like dumpster diving for your security blanket.  If you dig down far enough, you might find something vaguely resembling it.  More than likely, it’s just the piss-soaked rags of a deceased hobo.

マイケルの不思議な冒険 (Michael’s Magical Adventure) was developed by HUNTERS

80 Microsoft Points said “yes, I’m aware the box art says the translated name of the game is Mysterious Adventure of Michael, but that is NOT what the Japanese text of the game says!” in the making of this review.

Couldn’t find a trailer.  Sorry.

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8 Responses to マイケルの不思議な冒険 (Michael’s Magical Adventure)

  1. Another 80 ms points saved thanks to your review. Thank you.

  2. It’s unfortunate that the whole thing is so poorly executed. I might have enjoyed it in spite of its brazenness if had played reasonably well. I liked Oozi, after all. But it controls so clumsily. The first jump in the second level had me completely thwarted for about three or four minutes. The SECOND LEVEL. And not because it’s hard, but because it handles like crap.

    I’m sure the developer meant well, and I don’t HATE the game, but I have to wonder why they bothered.

  3. Craig says:

    Gotta give it to Enterbrain’s Indie Gamer Maker(that’s what I think the developer of this game used)! It puts JP devs in a slump. :D

  4. Professor Fessor says:

    Did you know Nintendo had a hard time getting started in America in the home console industry? Stores wouldn’t carry the system since they thought video games had been a fad. Worlds of Wonder made a deal with Nintendo that forced stores to take NES orders if they wanted any Worlds of Wonder toys. And what toy was it that Worlds of Wonder made that was so popular? Teddy Ruxpin. FULL CIRCLE BITCHES

    • Kairi Vice says:

      Worlds of Wonder was run by a bunch of ex-Atari marketing executives too. And when Nintendo severed ties with them and they went bankrupt, Nintendo simply hired all their top-commissioned salesmen. So it’s more full circle than you know. Plus, Steven Race was one of their main guys, and he went on to be the guy who brought the Playstation to North America (but was fired by Sony right before it’s actual US launch).

  5. Farwalk says:

    Why was that hobo using my security blanket as a diaper?

    My mom threw that out when I had the measles.

    Maybe that is why he died.

    Sorry for killing you Mr. Hobo. :(

  6. fbergen212 says:

    i dunno what your talking about i find the controls handle just as well as a mario game, and the levels are challenging the music is a bit off but i didnt mind the gameplay you can control your jumps and well im one that utilizes the run button which is what i do in a mario game but i found it controlled well there were some instances where id get frustrated but it was challenging i mean everyone is entitled to their opinion but i enjoyed it its not the best game i have ever played but its not bad for a mario clone

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