This Risky Woods review is played and tested on the Nintendo Switch. The game is available in the Nintendo eShope for €9,99/$9.99.
If you like retro games (why else would you browse retrolike.net), you have probably heard of Qubyte Interactive. This Brazilian developer/publisher has been making a name for itself by re-releasing retro games. With their classics label, they have been bringing back several obscure and not well-known classics to our modern systems.
Their most recent release, Risky Woods, is a side-scrolling platformer originally released on the Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive systems. While all versions featured the same protagonist and gameplay, the Genesis/Mega Drive version was slightly different from the rest of them. For this re-release of Risky Woods, Qubyte chose to stick to the Genesis version only. But for now, let’s take a look at whether the core gameplay can still hold up in modern days.
Trouble in Risky Woods
In Risky Woods, you play as Rohan, who is on a quest to save the ancient monks and defeat the evil Draxos and his minions. The ancient monks, who preserve the wisdom of the lost lands, have been petrified, and it’s up to you to save them from their stony prison.
Rohan starts his journey with a bundle of throwing knives, dressed in a toga (in other versions, Rohan is actually wearing a tank top) and a staff in his hands, although he never uses it as a weapon. Throughout your journey, Rohan can collect coins. These coins, once enough are collected, will upgrade your armor to a silver and eventually a gold armor. While wearing these items, you are protected from any kind of damage, and instead, it will drain your coin amount until the point where you start losing parts of your armor. This reminded me a lot of that other classic platformer, Ghosts ‘n Goblins.
Every now and then, you come across a chest where you can change your weapons or upgrade your current one to make it slightly more powerful. Each weapon comes with its own style of attack. For example, axes that are thrown in a curved angle or a boomerang that hits the front and moves backward to hit enemies coming from the back. Although the game gives you these opportunities, I found myself always moving towards the weapons that shoot straight forward. They seem more efficient in the long run. But that’s not all that the chests bring. Mostly, the chests are filled with items that give you an advantage. Like more time (as you are on a time limit) or a special weapon to give you a slight advantage against the enemies.
The chests also come with items that give you a disadvantage, like reverse where you are, thrown back a certain amount of space, or an item that drains time. Of course, you don’t have to pick up those items, but sometimes those items drop on top of the item you need to progress further, and you unintentionally pick them up anyway.
When I look at the features of this re-release, it seems quite shallow, to say the least. Like I mentioned earlier in this review, the game only comes with the Genesis/Mega Drive version. I would have preferred to see both versions added so I could have seen the difference between each version. You get some style options like a pixelated look or a CRT-filter, but that’s about it. There are no accessibility features apart from a save option. This is quite handy considering the difficulty, but overall, it’s way too little for the whole package. A gallery with artwork would have been a great feature, but it is nowhere to be found.
Risky Woods' gameplay can still hold up these days, although it has some annoying elements that can be overlooked. When considering the other features, the whole package falls short, which could have been solved by adding extra versions, a gallery, and some more accessibility features. Overall, it's okay, but nothing more than that.