Recently we covered NEScape!, a cute little modern NES game brought to the Switch by 8 Bit Legit. It was a neat game that really pushed the 8 bit limits. As such, when they announced their next Switch title and it was a Mega Man clone, I was all up for it. Mega Man is one of my favourite series, so this was right up my proverbial alley.
Can it live up to the blue bomber’s 8 bit outings, or will it just be a zero?
Many thanks to 8-Bit Legit for the review code.
Trophy starts off by introducing the story in traditional 8 bit fair. Gearus 9 is in trouble, as Lord Q has corrupted 8 giant robot masters to inflict terror upon the planet’s inhabitants. If that sounds like the standard plot of a Mega Man game, then that’s because it is. There are some unique elements to the story, such as the hero being both man and machine, but we all know that is not what you are here for.
You’re actually here for the tight platforming over eight selectable levels, culminating in a final climax against the big bad himself, and the game does not disappoint in that. With only the option to jump and shoot, this is Mega Man stripped down to the bare minimum but it controls so well. Trophy has no buster, instead opting for an Iron Man-esque shot from his palm instead, but in effect it makes little difference.
The eight main stages range from generic series tropes such as underwater and jungle, to some more exotic locales such as opening stage inside a circus. Each level has its own set of platforming gimmicks and foes to overcome within your limited number of lives, but thankfully losing one will just set you back to the screen you were previously on. It sounds quite lenient, but the game’s punishing nature will make you glad of this small way of easing the pain. Trophy is unapologetically difficult, complete with the occasional unfair pitfall and intentional slowdown. It’s a little nostalgic in a way, but those softened by modern sensibilities will no doubt find it rather frustrating.
Each of the nine stages ends with a boss fight, and there are some creative ones to takes down. Whether it be giant spiders, fork lifts, or just a huge clown head, there’s some really beautifully designed foes to take down. They’re spoiled slightly by having slightly too much health, which proves tedious at best and frustrating at worst, but they’re still pretty memorable in their own way. The order you take them down also has no affect as to their difficulty either, since there’s no reward for beating each stage. That’s not to say that there aren’t any powerups, as health and weapon enhancers can be found hidden within the stages – although the latter will only power up your main blaster while your health is high, lest it goes back to the standard lemon shooter. It’s a unique twist on the formula, but it does feel rather unfulfilling too.
Overall, Trophy is one of the better Mega Man clones that I’ve played. It has an unrelenting difficulty that will put off all but the hardened of season veterans, but it’s a really tightly designed game for fans of old-school platforming.