01st Nov2018

‘Save Me, Mr Tako’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

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There is a love that so many people have for the Nintendo Game Boy that transcends generations, I know several people who feel that the Mario games released on that small, green-screened handheld are among the best and millions of hours worldwide were lost to that classic Russian title, Tetris. I never owned a Game Boy, however and although I have played them over the years I don’t have any real emotional connection to the games released on the chunky grey handheld.

The reason that I’m saying this is because Save Me, Mr Tako makes no apologies for the fact that it is a throwback to the Game Boy days of yore. Much as The Messenger and Shovel Knight mine the 8-bit days, Save Me, Mr Tako looks, sounds and plays like a long lost hand held title from 1991…with a lot more polish.

I’ll start the review off by saying that, if this game was released on the Game Boy in 1991, it would probably be heralded as a classic of the platforming genre. As I played through the (pretty huge) game, the conversations with characters and jaunty music as well as the level layout feel like they really have jumped out of the past, even down to the somewhat saucy enemy placement and occasional blind jump…

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The titular Mr Tako is an octopus and in the game world, octopi have long been at war with humans with child kidnappings (a subtly dark undercurrent of the game) and constant battles being the norm. Playing out as a 2D platformer, Mr Tako makes his way through the levels by shooting ink at enemies in order to temporarily freeze them and perhaps even use them as platforms as he makes his way around the short and yet multi-layered stages to collect gems, extra lives and hats to wear which grant different abilities as he works through the fifty stages on offer.

The visuals of the game are…well… very Game Boy-esque, as you’d expect. By pressing the shoulder buttons, you can change the filters of the game much as you could on the Super Game Boy cart on the SNES. The music in the game reproduces the squelches, blips and beeps of Nintendo’s most famous hand held and always feels well-suited to the specific stage of the game you are on. I was also surprised to find myself getting involved in the story, text boxes in the game keep the narrative moving and the tale is a little more deep than you’d normally expect from this type of game. There are some moments, as mentioned above whereby a blind jump or cheeky enemy placement would get my goat (Mr Tako can only take one hit before he loses his hat, a second hit will kill him) but it never feels unfair, just the right side of challenging.

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With its various side quests, mini-games, oodles of charm and retro stylings, fans of the Game Boy really have to play this game to tickle that nostalgia muscle. Even better, it still stands up as a fun and surprisingly engaging modern game in its own right. Another great example of how a twist on a classic formula can still make waves. Whether it’s 1991 or 2018, a good game is a good game.

Save Me, Mr Tako is available on the Nintendo Switch and Steam from today, October 30th.

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