Alfonzo’s Arctic Adventure finally makes its way onto Xbox after initially launching as an NES cartridge. Developed and published by Spoony Bard Productions, there is some history behind this project. This experience is based on the early 2000’s Flash cartoon “Eskimo Bob”, which was made popular on Newsgrounds. Tomas Guinan was the co-creator of the original cartoon and has now taken to bringing these characters back to life in video game form. This version of the game on the console echoes the original cartridge release. Who would have thought we would see NES releases thirty-five years on from the launch of that particular console. There is still a huge market for retro 8-bit titles and if that is your bag you won’t want to miss this one.
This is what games were like then!
Unless you were born in the ’80s or ’90s then you won’t understand that games in this style were equal to triple-A games you see now. Looking at screenshots and videos of this title you’d think it mimics the mechanics of an early Mario game, well you’d be exactly right. In Alfonzo’s Arctic Adventure, you take the role of Alfonzo on a quest to find your missing best friend, Bob. Knowing that Bob’s favourite food is fish, you decide to collect as many fish as you can while searching for your friend. With your trusty stick by your side, travel through over 90 levels filled with puzzles, traps, and enemies around every corner. Luckily, you aren’t alone on your adventure! You will meet new friends along the way, each with different abilities to help you on your quest. These include the power-punching Magnus, the near-invulnerable Fenwood, and the sword-wielding Girl.
A retro game rich in content
Ninety levels, you heard that right. Add to this thirty enemy types, seven unique boss battles, four different boss battles, and more. There is a whole lot of meat in what you’d expect to be a real small game. It’s at a real low price point here, so you’re getting a whole lot of bang for your buck. The amount on offer left me pleasantly surprised and will keep you busy for a good few hours.
Challenging gameplay and head scratching moments
Whilst you will get some Super Mario vibes here, you play at a much slower pace and can take your time. There are some challenging moments and also times where you’ll be left scratching your head at how to progress. Health is non-existent here so if you are so much touched by an enemy or fall off the map then you will die and respawn. As you traverse through each short and sweet level, you’ll encounter puzzling puzzles, enemies, bosses, and unexpected traps. Casual and hardcore gamers alike will love this if they experience the heyday of the NES and Sega Master System consoles.
The premise of the game is simple. defeat enemies, bosses, collect fish, and find secret paths. You’ll want to try and find everything possible to unlock the achievements. If you’re quick then it will take 2-3 hours to complete, maybe longer if you want to find all the secrets. Defeating enemies is a test of patience of timing. graphics and you are armed with a stick to poke them with. Keep your eyes peeled for some friends along the way to assist you with the power-punching Magnus and sword-wielding Fenwood.
Graphics and Sound
Visually Alfonzo’s Arctic Adventure performs as you’d expect for a game of this calibre. Gamers of the ’80s and 90’s era will be heading back to memory lane revisiting graphics of their childhood. You can understand why they opted to get this released on an NES cartridge for nostalgic purposes. Sound effects and music are the traditional jingles echoing through this 8-bit world.
Considering this is just a project encapturing characters from a cartoon from almost two decades ago, it’s a fun retro journey to embark on. I especially love the fact that they launched an NES cartridge of this and it is delightful to see it on the console market. It is very short but offers so much variance in levels and challenges and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would do. Sure, it isn’t going to top the charts anytime soon, but for its super cheap entry price, it is worth your time. Can you collect and find all the golden fish and locate the secret paths for one thousand gamerscore?