Hasbro’s licensing department appears to draw some inspiration from recent beat’em up releases, as they’ve unveiled their own take on the genre with G.I Joe : Wraith of Cobra. They’ve partnered with publisher Freedom Games and Maple Powered Games, a relatively lesser-known developer known for their 2D pixel art farming game “Monsters Harvest.”
Saturday morning beat’em up
The legendary G.I. Joe franchise returns for arcade-style beat’em up action with Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Roadblock, and other beloved franchise favorites. Navigate land, air, sea, and even space through iconic locations like Cobra Island, the Pit, Cobra’s top-secret underwater base, and more as you thwart the devious Cobra Commander’s latest scheme to take over the world.
Wield an arsenal of weapons, explosives, and more as you combat the ferocious forces of Cobra and take on Troopers, Ninja Vipers, HISS Tanks, the deadly Crimson Guard and more. String together powerful combos and master the special abilities of each character to turn the tide of battle. Master dodging and parrying to overcome the odds and save the world.
Assemble the Joes
Assemble up to four players in both online or couch co-op in either Story or Arcade Mode. Lovingly detailed hand-drawn pixel art and classic style cartoon cutscenes combine for the ultimate G.I. Joe experience featuring an arcade-inspired soundtrack from legendary composer Tee Lopes (Sonic Mania, TMNT Shredder’s Revenge, Streets of Rage 4 – Mr. X Nightmare DLC) and from Crush 40’s lead vocalist Johnny Gioeli (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020).
The trailer primarily centers around a reimagining of the original cartoon’s intro. I don’t want to be to judgemental in this stage of development but as a dedicated G.I. JOE fan in my pre-teen years, it didn’t immediately captivate me. The animation seemed a bit cheesy, and the characters lacked vitality. However, the standout feature of the trailer is undoubtedly the completely revamped opening tune by Tee Lopes, known for his work on Sonic Mania, Streets of Rage 4, and Shredder’s Revenge. It’s a massive improvement over the original and the highlight of the trailer.
When we examine the brief gameplay glimpses featured in the reveal trailer, some concerns certainly come to light. “G.I. Joe: Wrath of Cobra” boasts crips and appealing visuals, clearly drawing inspiration from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge” in terms of aesthetics. However, the beat’em up gameplay itself appears to suffer from stiffness, sluggishness, and a lack of overall appeal.
Set for Q1 2024
The game is set for an early 2024 release on PC through Steam, Epic Game Store and GOG. Maple Powered Games has some time to clean up the details and hopefully bring it up to par with the competition and change our minds.