Save me Mr. Tako (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 24.12.2018

Review for Save me Mr. Tako on Nintendo Switch

Pixel art in indie games have become ubiquitous. It has become a bit of cliché at this point to use is as a means to create a "throw-back" style that harkens back to simpler times. For some titles this is a crutch that becomes style over substance. Other times it just might have been a result of the indie dev making use of what little tools is available. Art that comes from adversity is when a creator transcends their limitations to craft something extraordinary. In the case of Save me Mr. Tako for the Nintendo Switch, things just happen to be ordinary.

The original Game Boy shaped portable gaming as the world knows it today. The little grey brick was underpowered, yet affordably priced, and with a vast library of games that ran a wide gamut. It was one of the most successful pieces of hardware ever to come out of Japan along with the Sony Walkman. Naturally, it would leave an impression on many fertile young minds who would grow up playing 2D platformers like Kirby's Dream Land, Kid Dracula or any of the Mario Land games since they were so accessible. With Save me Mr. Tako, the designers opted to not just homage the restrictive visual palette, but also the simplistic nature of Game Boy games from the late '80s and early '90s.

The charm of the Game Boy two-tone visuals wears thin pretty fast. It may be cute at first, but as the game goes on it becomes visually exhausting to look at. It would seem even the game's designer would agree since there is even a feature where users can cycle through a wide variety of colour palettes with the shoulder buttons that would not be possible on a Game Boy. Some of these are visually interesting since some of the palettes are lurid and intense, but not something anyone would want to play with extensively.

The default pea soup green seemed like something that would be used for story-telling purposes since the first area is Mr. Tako under the sea, and using old Game Boy graphics could be a way of giving the impression that he lives in a murky and dull world. Having the rest of the game in full colour as Mr. Tako leaves for the surface would have been a brilliant concept since the game's story deals with prejudices between octopus and man. Beauty can only be skin deep, though. What matters is substance - and, sadly, this is very shallow.

Screenshot for Save me Mr. Tako on Nintendo Switch

The developer's ambition of creating a game that is as complex and as deep as an original Game Boy game is fully realized. This is as basic as a 2D platformer can be, and has very little going on to make it memorable. Much of the ability hats of Mr. Tako do not amount for much, and he loses them when he gets hit once. This becomes an exhausting ordeal when the difficulty spikes midway through the game where homing enemies are introduced that can and will set Mr. Tako back.

Save me Mr. Tako brings back the old lives system that is not seen too often outside of a few games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze or New Super Mario Bros. This would not be much of an issue except for the fact that Mr. Tako's lives max out at a measly nine. He is supposed to be an octopus, not a cat, and as the difficulty goes from leisurely to sweating bullets, expect to have to farm lives in the easier stages - all because Mr. Tako can't rack up lives past a single digit.

This is as plain-Jane of a 2D platformer as can be. Being an octopus really does not make much of a difference since Mr. Tako plays no different than someone like the original Mega Man. Shooting ink is not lethal - it merely stuns threats and turns them into temporary platforms to reach areas. Wearing hats tweak the gameplay in minor ways, but since it is so easy to lose them it is not uncommon to ever get much use out of the headwear. For those who really want an authentic Game Boy style game, Save me Mr. Tako will surely deliver... warts and all. This is not like Shovel Knight, which made necessary changes to the style of games it homages, leading to the betterment of the experience.

Screenshot for Save me Mr. Tako on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


The charming Game Boy style sprites can only go so far until all that is left is a very mundane platformer. Forgettable at worst, but mostly just extremely bland, Save me Mr. Tako fails to hit that sweet spot where retro and forward-thinking game design collide. Anyone who might be interested in this would be better off downloading actual Game Boy titles off the 3DS' Virtual Console eShop, as this is sadly not as exciting as the older games it apes from, and is an imitation from somebody's memory of the quaintness of those titles. The reality is that the 'real deal' is still out there, and is still fun to play. Don't settle for this hollow interpretation.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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