Pocky and Rocky are two scamp’s that most SNES would know, starting off under the name KikiKaiKai before adopting the more “western” name the series last outing was on GBA. Now it’s time for Pocky and Rocky: Reshrined, are you ready to welcome in some old friends once again?.
Pocky and Rocky: Reshrined is developed by Tengo Project who also worked on the fantastic Ninja Saviours: The Warriors Return and Wild Guns Reloaded, safe to say this team knows their way around remaking SNES games at this point.
Pocky and Rocky: Reshrined is a little more than the previously mentioned titles through, they were more remakes for modern consoles where as Reshrined starts off as a remake then veers off into its own game making it somewhat of a resequal?.
The title pushes the boundaries of pixel art in providing something that looks distinctly retro but having the enemy count and plethora of visual effects that would only be possible on modern consoles, lighting effects, many explosions and details you’d come to expect from a “modern retro”, basically KikiKaiKai has never looked this good.
The stage variation is fantastic, initially pushing more of the feudal Japanese themes before it leans further into a more fantasy style even putting the action on an aircraft flying high above the clouds amid a storm.
Pocky and Rocky: Reshrined is a run and gun shooter SLASH cute ’em up with an enemy count and difficulty to even make Parodius and Contra blush at times.
The game has a Story mode and Free mode, the story presents you with some cutscenes explaining the story and chooses your character for each of the stages, upon completion you unlock Free Mode which not only allows for multiplayer but lets you choose from any of the 4 playable characters.
You have your projectile attack which can be changed via pickups, a deflecting attack, a dodge slide and a screen clearing bomb, 8 way controls and these simple pick up and play controls provide a brilliant arcade style experience.
You get many different pickups which provide shields and other benefits such as a tiger to ride around on, health and even 1ups which with the game’s difficulty you’ll need!.
Coins are dropped by the crazy cast of enemies ranging from ghosts to strange long necked women and beyond, this money can be used with the in stage vendors to get items, thought there is a knack to getting them to spawn 1ups when you need them.
As I’ve mentioned, yeah this game is fairly tough and especially as you’re stuck playing it solo until you gather a certain amount of coins or finish the Story Mode. This was quite a knock as I had fond memories of Pocky and Rocky as a multiplayer game with friends and was looking forward to introducing my son to it so confusion set in on the initial boot, fortunately the game remains beautifully chaotic fun once you’ve unlocked said mode.
Pocky and Rocky: Reshrined is a beautiful game, insanely chaotic and a basket full of fun all rolled into one, it is very retro inspired so don’t go in expecting a cinematic story or millions of modes to invest it, it’s pure arcade action that doesn’t quite reach its peak until you finish off the story mode, then it’s 1cc chasing and multiplayer laughs until the spirits come home!.
A welcome return to one of the SNES greatest co-op experiences, shame you have to unlock it.
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