The Original Battletoads was a side-scrolling smack-em-up, and the new game is the same… sort of. This time, the developer Dlala Studios has pushed the story of the unusual levels of the series to the point that you really spend only half of the game (maybe even less) on actions. But before we get there, the smack-em-up sections are excellent. There are enough moves and variations to keep the action interesting without making it too confusing. More importantly for me, however, the characters and environments are interesting enough to motivate the players; it’s not just an endless amount of enemies until they reach the end. Each Battletoad also plays a little differently, and you can easily switch between them as part of a Combo if there are not three players present. More or less suitable for the Arcade game, the buttons are fast, the buttons slower, but have a stronger blow and a rash is somewhere in between. Their different morphing movements are fun to use, because each one is unique and corresponds to the character.
As with the previous games in this series, the Action is separated by a number of different types of levels that go beyond the basic brawl. I especially appreciate this, because I get bored of this type of game quite quickly. The Rare and Dlala Studios have outdone themselves in the modern Version of Battletoads, including non-action platforming levels, Bullet-Hell levels, vehicle levels based on evasive obstacles, and much more. I was excited about it at first, but my feelings changed when I learned that the game was surprisingly short; it only took me a few afternoons to be ready. The second half of the game doesn’t even offer a regular smack-em-Up phase. While I like the variety, Battletoads Fans expect a brawler with fun alternate level styles, and that’s definitely not what we have here. To be clear, all playstyles are fun (although some get a little boring after a while), and the difficulty options mean I was able to get through the game without having to deal with the punishing difficulty of the original. But I would have liked the game to be at least a little longer and with more “traditional” stages, especially since there is not much replayability here. The only reason to repeat it would be (if you are playing in co-op) to try another character.
Speaking of characters, it’s the Battletoads themselves (and the writing in general) that really enhance this smooth reboot and give it some replayability for a single player. This is the first game in the series with narration and animated cutscenes, and the developers used them very well. In fact, I laughed out loud a few times while playing, because not only the toads, but all the characters show their exaggerated personalities. Even the Queen of Darkness, the relatively generic villain of classic games, is now a much more fun and interesting character. Bright and cartoonish graphics fit well with this parameter, although sometimes all the different types of Aliens become a little confusing. There isn’t much of a story here either, but the point of the writing is to focus more on the characters and interactions than the plot. The game is aware of this (and a number of other things), so I’m at least enjoying it. In particular, the rashes do not seem to have much of a fourth wall.
Whether you’ve mastered the punishing NES version or you’ve never heard of the series, Battletoads is something new and therefore won’t affect your experience too much. If you have a game pass and a less subtle sense of humor, you should play Battletoads. Although the Gameplay is not exactly what everyone was hoping for, it still works great. The story justifies all play styles and the graphics are more attractive than you might think. But given the short duration of the game. For me, it certainly is, but I am also the kind of person who will appeal to this kind of comedy and variety. Even if it’s not for everyone, it’s still a triumphant return for the long-dormant series, and I hope we’ll see more Battletoads games in the future. After all, these cameos kill rashes.