This article was originally published on Doublejump.
Fresh from Studio Koba comes a nostalgic journey into a retro-futuristic digital landscape drenched in 80s ambience. Inspired by games such as Castlevania and Double Dragon, Narita Boy is a pixelated wonder that holds true to Studio Koba’s mission statement of providing “unique and bizarre experiences for the player”.
Narita Boy’s narrative plays out like the lovechild of Tron and The NeverEnding Story. After demonic programs within the famous in-universe game Narita Boy steal The Creator’s memories, their son is sucked into the game world to become Narita Boy himself. So begins a journey through the Digital Kingdom in which Narita Boy will claim the Tri-Colour Sword, thwart the corrupt code known as the Stallions and defeat Him, a program hellbent on ruling the Digital Kingdom and breaching dimensions to take control of the real world as well.
Your abilities start out basic but as you explore the Digital Kingdom and the Red, Blue and Yellow Realms of the Trichroma, you unlock new powerful attacks, support abilities and traversal buffs such as turning into a digital deer or riding a floppy disc like a surfboard. It’s all exceptionally wacky and wonderful, with NPCs constantly praising your arrival as the foretold saviour. True to arcade classics, you will slip and slide with momentum and find yourself foiled by pits far more often than enemies.
The journey through the Digital Kingdom, as visually stunning as it is (and it is) would be nothing without Salvinsky’s beat-pumping, soul-rocking original soundtrack. The score makes every combat scenario more epic than the last, with cute rock out moments when your sprite busts a move in pride, while quietly elevating the tranquil memory sections, reliving your father’s touchstone experiences, sharing in his loss and love.
While clearly set up for a sequel, Narita Boy provides an epic reimagining of the son/saviour fairy tale set against lavish digital settings backed by a kickin’ soundtrack. Embrace the constant pop culture references of glorious geekdom and become Narita Boy in a standout experience born from a love of what came before.
A testament to handcrafted pixel-art perfection, Narita Boy pays tribute to the arcade classics of the ‘80s while also building on the foundation they laid.
Tom reviewed Narita Boy using a retail Xbox One code acquired via Xbox Game Pass.
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