Lizard is an open world NES platformer and the ROM is also available for PC. As a ROM with a PC port, its technically sound, there are a lot of settings for the emulator. The game’s strong points can be easily assessed, the clear art and the great music. Beyond that, the glaring issue is the open world as a whole. The 35 minutes of the game felt like 25 minutes of being lost only to stumble into the ending. The first boss was the last boss. I can’t say the game is fun, so much as it is basic and plays well enough.
Its rare to find an open world NES game that lets you freely go wherever you want with only a few areas being restricted by abilities you’ll obtain from new suits. You’re a human wearing a lizard suit. You crawl into its mouth and leave the old suit behind. So rather than upgrading to swim or jump higher, you’re swapping to swim or jump higher.
With six suits and an open world, I’d like to think there are six bosses and each one offers a different ending based on the suit you’re wearing, but if that was true, I assume the game would make mention or hint at it somewhere. So I have to assume that this was the one boss and I beat the game. Plus, watching the trailer, I felt I had seen everything in the trailer through my 30+ minute play through. If the game were to get an update, it has a NES version with physical cartridges, so that might be a tricky issue.
As for the controls, the player is slippery, but you can go slow by holding down and the direction… just don’t mess that up as you would then dash. It could have benefit from a run button instead, but your power uses the B button… Up + B or Down + B could have. B to swim with the swim suit was odd. I say A and B as if they were native NES controls.
There were a lot of environments, but the same mechanics other than water. There was nothing to make a theme feel more unique like something that could only be found in that theme.
The open world itself is a bit overwhelming, because there are so many directions to go from the early moments of the game. Even the title screen is its own world that you can traverse. The game itself had me wandering in circles for 25 minutes from one themed area to the next. Nothing was too difficult, so it made circles less painful.
Death happens easy with a single hit. Get hit by a small enemy and you restart at the last check point. This method can always save you time when having to back track. In a way this is balanced, because none of the areas is too big. The game itself is short and sweet.
In the end, I wonder if 30 minutes of game was worth the 4 years of development time in the eyes of Kickstarter backers. The idea is cute, the areas are simple, reminiscent of early NES.
As for recommending it, its a toss up. I like the novelty of a new NES game, but being lost in a game devoid of challenge or interesting things hindered the experience. In general its very barren and bland. If it was a longer game, I would have hated it and even now, I’m riding the fence.
To close, I’d like to thank the developer for giving me a review copy.