The Kidd’s Alright 

HIGH Some of the best hand-drawn visuals I’ve seen in ages. 

LOW  Yup, this is an ’80s platformer! 

WTF Imagine a Rocket Knight Adventures remake done in this style!  

While everyone knows the story of Sonic the Hedgehog, the tale behind Sega’s first mascot is interesting.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World was released in 1986 for the Sega Master System. This quirky platformer saw players control the titular hero as he ventures forth to defeat an evil villain named Janken the Great. Taking inspiration from different martial arts media as well as motifs from the likes of Dragon Ball, this simple story was right at home alongside its platforming contemporaries. While Sega released several sequels, Kidd hasn’t appeared in a game since 1990’s Alex Kidd in Shinobi World. 

Over 30 years and countless mascot platformers later, the original Sega star returns with a remake of his first adventure. Subtitled DX, this is a faithful remake nearly identical to the original, but with some welcome changes. The biggest comes in the graphics options.

At the click of a button, players can see its original 8-bit form with Master System-era music or the new, gorgeous, hand-drawn style. Both versions have their charm, but the newer style is clearly the star of the show. Environments have plenty of detail, the way combat looks is great, and I love the expressions on Alex’s face — everything shines in this visual overhaul. 

Underneath the visual sheen, Kidd is still very much a late-’80s platformer. Jumping is a bit on the floaty side, but doesn’t require a lot of tricky timing. The combat is simplistic, as Alex’s main attack is a punch. A few abilities can be found throughout each level and bought in stores, like fireballs. These can be used to defeat enemies and destroy blocks to find secrets and money. The one-hit kills are annoying, but the option of playing with unlimited lives alleviates that stress.  

Despite the gameplay showing its age, it is what it is and I was enamored with it. It’s a wonderful refresh for a classic title like this, and hopefully, we’ll see a similar return of other mascot platformers from bygone eras in the same style.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Merge Games. It is currently available on PS4, PS5, XBX/S, XBO, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately five hours were spent in the single-player modes and the game was completed. There is no multiplayer.

Parents: According to the ESRB this game is rated E for Mild Fantasy Violence and Mild Language. The official description reads as follows: This is a side-scrolling platformer in which players assume the role of Alex Kidd as he attempts to save a village from evil forces. Players traverse and fly around 2D platforms while battling whimsical enemies. Players shoot small fireballs and punch enemy creatures (e.g., dragons, bats, frogs, rock monsters); enemies generally disappear into puffs of smoke when defeated. The word “damn” appears in the dialogue

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Subtitles and on-screen instructions cannot be adjusted but audio is not needed to enjoy this game, thanks to the abundance of visual cues. This game is perfectly accessible. 

Remappable Controls: No, the controls are not remappable

Cj Salcedo
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