Whereas the work of Makoto Uchida on Golden ax was inspired by combining a fantastic backdrop with Double dragon gameplay – aside from the fact that Golden Ax was originally going to be named Battle Ax or Broad Ax instead – the biggest compliment we can give on PS4 Battle Ax from Numskull Games is that it successfully captures the spirit of his inspirations. From its origins as a Kickstarter project, Battle Ax has been touted by developers Henk Nieborg and Bitmap Bureau as a top-down game that draws its vision not only from Glove, but also the settings of Golden Ax and Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara.

Nieborg’s exquisitely detailed pixel art features Battle Ax as an arcade game from the CP System era, and Capcom’s credentials extend to Manami Matsumae’s fantastic soundtrack, which is enhanced by his songwriting experience. beat-’em-up music for Final Fight, and in particular its tuning Magic sword.

The gameplay is a mix of brawling and shooting, so while Fae the Dark Elf’s attacks are focused in melee, the contrast between the three selectable characters is what sets Battle Ax apart as being more akin to a descent and descent game. gun, rather than just hack and -slash. Rooney’s cannon shots play like a shooter, and making the most of Iolo’s Gunstar Heroes-esque stationary fireballs advances the Balin The Hobbit lookalike as a modern retro take. The engine of chaos.

The difficulty curve is well balanced, where avoiding fire traps and hidden spikes takes priority in stage 3, and the challenge accelerates with aggressive enemies returning projectiles in final stage 4. Local co-op two-player makes the game easier at first – well you both have to move forward in unison, as players who rush past a lagging friend are punished with cheap punches. Arcade mode’s tough challenge and action-packed boss fights are rigorously old school in that losing three lives ends the game, and you have to restart the entire game without any checkpoints, or save states. , and not even credits to continue.

There is a replay value to be found in the Hard difficulty setting, or the pursuit of 29 trophies for a Platinum, as well as a New Game + unlockable challenge. Yet even the inclusion of an additional infinite mode highlights how the core gameplay becomes repetitive, and the four main areas of Arcade mode can be beaten in under an hour. If the idea of ​​exploring to save the villagers fondly reminds you Zombies ate my neighbors, or maybe you remember isometric arcade brawlers like Dungeon magic and Sorcerer’s fire, then the nostalgia evoked by Battle Ax mixing two formidable old genres can still work its way into your heart.

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