In a trend of generic named games comes Super You have to Win the Game, which is the sequel of a free 2D platforming adventure. Its a game that looks like another popular Nintendo game, but it plays different. There is no attacking, only platforming. One hit and you’re dead only to spawn at the last checkpoint bell.
What’s super about the game is that its in color and geared more toward the original Nintendo nostalgia rather than the Amiga nostalgia. With the old Nintendo naming conventions, “Super” was always relegated to those of the sixteen-bit console rather than the eight-bit. The game plays the same with more frills. You’ll still explore and find new abilities like the double jump and wall cling, that let you get further.
I enjoyed the predecessor, but SYHTWTG feels bland and generic as its name. The only thing fresh now is a color of paint, overhead maps and towns that offer hints and other frills like buying keys, loaning keys and buying skeleton keys. The keys are a tough sale for me, because you can find them out in the open and every door you unlock leads to either another door or something you need later in the game. You can find keys, but the skeleton key is your best value since all doors can open.
The game’s currency is jewels. I would say diamonds, but since they have color they’re jewels. You’re told there’s 128 in all and there are fortune tellers in town that let you know how many you’ve collected, how many deaths you’ve had, how much debt you’ve been in and where your next goal is located. Some might think being told where to go next is a cheat, but in an open world game where you need to return several times to previous locations is a welcome treat for anyone stuck. Its optional to speak with the teller.
Your objective is to obtain six pieces of a king’s heart. By pieces the game shows entire hearts rather than fragments. There’s no sense of direction since the game is open world. You can invade any palace with your only restrictions being keys and abilities. There are a few palaces and a few dungeons here and there that look taken from a more popular game from the 80s.
This is a game about traversal, exploration and restriction. You will find things that let you turn hollow blocks into solids of specific colors. Gain the ability to swim through poison swamps, lava and sewage. Under water you have a high swim jump and a double jump to go along with it.
While there is an over world map to get from place to place, the game also has a backdoor area that connects the first town and several key dungeons. You still need to find the dungeons before you can unlock the doors. Its a quick way to get back and forth instead of walking in the over world map, then crossing every bridge, going through every cave to find the dungeon you need.
At the end of a dungeon, once you have found whatever item you were there for, there is a book that puts you in a dream land. This is a surreal dreamland with a monochromatic look where you can jump on invisible platforms, wall climb invisible walls. It feels closer to the previous game and maybe that’s why its here, to bridge that gap between the basic graphics and the full color.
There are a few towns and settlements, each has the same shops selling or loaning keys and fortune teller. The towns are for hints. You can find a few castles and a few quests, such as get me this item that gives you an ability. Then when you bring it to them they give you a jewel and let you keep the item.
Everything feels so basic and maybe it did in the previous game too. The enemies are basic. Bats fly left and right, crabs, snakes and scorpions and snakes move left and right. There are spikes and death traps everywhere. It feels like the bare minimum of effort went into the game. Perhaps to make it feel as old school as possible. It still feels engaging, fun and challenging.
I have had a few issues such as spawning on a checkpoint bell only to get killed again and again by a nearby enemy. Walking left when I died, only to spawn walking left and plunge into lava. Things like that. There’s little to no wait between spawns. One good thing about the spawns is if you died getting something, you still have it. Which makes it a spawn rather than a restart.
For extra frills there are speed run challenge maps. Going into one of these rooms via a town map strips you of all abilities. You can regain abilities in the challenges as you find them again in the maps. I gave one a try, but it seemed to loop. I tried for eight minutes to find my way out, but I failed. There is no way to get back to the town where you originated, instead you need to exit out of the game and hope that alleviates the problem.
There is also a portal that will take you to an alternate land that feels like a bunch of small challenge dungeons. Go into each dungeon and find an icon to unlock the bridge in the map that leads to the next dungeon. It feels like stapled on content rather than part of the game, even if its still in the game and you keep all your abilities.
The sprites and look could be a lot better. You are a green elf sprite without arms. At a higher price, this would be tougher to recommend and even now I’m on the fence about it. For everything bad I’ve said about the game, its still tough to put down. Its easy with tough moments. Its a game we’ve all played before and it does it simple, but well.