Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Neil Flynn 23.06.2021

Review for Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX on Nintendo Switch

Whether purposefully or accidently, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX releases 35 years after its initial release in 1986. Continuing the renaissance of older SEGA IP, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX from Merge Games and Jankenteam joins the ranks of the recently revived Panzer Dragoon Remake and Streets of Rage 4. Younger gamers may not remember, but Alex Kidd was SEGA's mascot before Sonic The Hedgehog put him into early retirement. The success of this modernisation of Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX may hold the key to newer games in the franchise hitting the shelves, or maybe there was a more obvious reason as to why it has taken almost 30 years to try to revive Alex Kidd.

The original Alex Kidd in Miracle World released in 1986 for the SEGA Master System, and in later revisions of the console it came as a built-in game. Alex Kidd evidently was SEGA’s original answer to Nintendo’s mascot, Mario, and as history has panned out it is fairly obvious who won that fight. Between 1986-1990 Alex Kidd had six games, released mainly on the Master System, none of which saw the franchise hit the heights of the original title. Merge Games has now brought the title back to life for the modern generation with this reimagining of Alex’s first adventure, and it looks great. The original 8-bit title was obviously hampered by the limitations of the hardware, and in 1986 it did look great, however, the remake now features brand new background art, new character models, animations and much more. The graphical upgrade is evidenced more by the instant switch to ‘Retro Mode’ at a touch of a button, which ‘demakes’ the graphical style to the original 8-bit Master System version. Another tap of the button restores the glorious backdrops and graphical style of the remake. During the review process, it actually felt slightly easier to play in the retro mode as it did away with any background or foreground elements distracting away from the precise platforming jumps.

Screenshot for Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX on Nintendo Switch

Set on the planet Aries, the Radaxian region is under threat from Janken the Great and his minions. Unbeknown to Alex, who has been training in martial arts lessons, he begins his quest when he learns that he needs to stop the evil usurper and rescue his father and brother. In all honesty, the plot is not anything too special. It serves the purpose of why Alex is on the quest in the first place, but it does not deviate from the original source material. As with most 2D platformers, progression throughout is linear, with the exception of one or two latter levels as there are a few more rooms to explore. Numerous enemies are placed throughout and while most don't pose a serious threat, there are others, namely Ghosts, that can cause more issues as they cannot be defeated. There are a couple of new levels added to Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX that weren't in the original, although none of these are really anything exceptional. As the developers have kept this as true to the original Master System title, it is hard to see anything truly that different, other than the graphical upgrade. These levels do show what they could do if they were to make a brand new title in the Alex Kidd series.

Screenshot for Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX on Nintendo Switch

Levels are littered with boxes and blocks, most of which Alex can break with his bare fists. Boxes can contain any number of items, although most of them are Star Boxes, which contain bags of money. Other boxes can vary, such as including a bracelet which allows projects to be fired, an extra life, or some unhelpful items like Ghosts that will hunt Alex down until they kill him. The in-game currency can be put to use in the occasional shops that pop up, allowing the opportunity to purchase a few helpful items such as: a brief spell of invincibility, a magic cane that allows a short-lived period of flight, capsules that spawn mini-Alex’s to help take out enemies and two vehicles, and lastly, the Motorcycle and Petricopter, which allow Alex to travel at high speeds, but if you take a hit the vehicle is lost. Unfortunately, the shops are far and few between, which means that Alex doesn’t need to collect as much money as there is available, which is a shame as it would have been great if an easy mode was added where shops could have spawned at the start of every level.

Screenshot for Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX on Nintendo Switch

The main issue that gamers will have with Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is its difficulty, which has also been faithfully recreated. Alex is surprisingly quite vulnerable as he can only take one hit before dying, despite being able to punch blocks with his bare hands. As power ups and lives are very far and few between, it is quite necessary to take note of enemy patterns and plan attacks carefully, particularly in later levels as some routes can often leave Alex pinched into a corner with no way out. To address this difficulty, an 'Infinite Lives' mode can be activated on the in-game options. Many will consider this cheating, and in one way that is true, but it does balance out the sheer number of cheap deaths. The platforming in some levels needs to be extraordinarily precise and unfortunately, like the original, it doesn't feel tight enough. Alex often feels too slippery or inaccurate to make such well timed jumps with ease. The infamous rock-paper-scissors (Janken) boss battles are back, and are only a tad less frustrating than they were 35 years ago, as some of the CPU opponents will also now show what they are going to use, but these bosses are still as frustrating now as they were then.

Screenshot for Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is hamstrung by its past, a Master System cult game that perhaps hasn't aged as well as people would like to think. Merge Games have done a delightful job at putting together brand-new visuals for the title, and have also put together some very appealing physical editions to purchase. Unfortunately, once the story mode has been completed, there is very little replay value, outside of unlocking a boss rush and 'classic mode'. There is definitely a hardcore challenge there for those who play without the helping hand of infinite lives, but those who don't should be able to get through the story mode in under an hour or so. Certainly, a great trip down memory lane for those old enough to remember the original, but newer players may find it somewhat frustratingly difficult and lacking compared to more modern 2D platformers.

Developer

Merge Games

Publisher

Merge Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
jesusraz

There are 1 members online at the moment.