A big portion of ’90s children look again on Rugrats with nice fondness. As one of many defining cartoons of each the last decade and the community of Nickelodeon, Rugrats spawned its fair proportion of licensed video video games, however final week’s announcement of a brand new one nonetheless got here as a shock. That recreation, Rugrats: Adventures in Gameland, would not simply characteristic retro sensibilities – it is an precise all-new retro recreation inbuilt 2023. Although the primary Rugrats online game did not launch till the late ’90s, Rugrats: Adventures in Gameland offers you the complete retro expertise, paying homage to the period of gaming that Rugrats utterly missed regardless of first airing in 1991.
Nonetheless, whereas many video games pay homage to the late ’80s and early ’90s aesthetic (learn our preview of one other recreation that includes the same aesthetic popping out of PAX West 2023, Mina the Hollower, right here), Rugrats: Adventures in Gameland takes it a step additional. Not content material with merely trying and enjoying like an NES recreation, builders The Combine Video games and Wallride really created the title for the NES, and with publishing dealt with by widespread bodily recreation firm Restricted Run Video games, you’ll really have the ability to purchase a working NES cartridge model of the sport when it releases. In the event you’re like me and do not have a working NES, do not fret: The sport is out there on all fashionable platforms as nicely.
My demo, which occurred on an NES, spanned one stage of the sport. In Rugrats: Adventures in Gameland, you’ll be able to select between the core child group – Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil – every with distinct leaping stats. Phases may be performed in single-player or two-player co-op, with gamers capable of revive downed infants in the event that they take an excessive amount of harm. The story follows the infants after they see a business for a brand new Reptar online game, then think about themselves inside a recreation. The six levels happen within the Pickles’ residence, however after an preliminary display screen, the stage transforms right into a extra fantastical setting.
In my demo, I am first greeted by an 8-bit model of the title card from the cartoon, full with a chiptune model of the title card jingle. It is a good contact, significantly given the presentation type the builders went for. My stage begins within the yard at Tommy’s home, and after recognizing Tommy’s father, Stu, distracted by the grill, my character climbs up right into a tree and the world round them transforms right into a jungle setting.
I set out as Tommy, probably the most well-rounded jumper within the group. After dodging and leaping on prime of varied jungle animals, I crack open a bud, which blossoms right into a bouncy flower to let me attain a better platform. Different sequences require me to choose up blocks and stack them to achieve larger up. In all probability probably the most tough portion of my demo required me to leap from vine to vine whereas birds flew backwards and forwards, knocking me into the perilous pit beneath.
After a vertical climbing sequence, my playtime culminates in a boss battle in opposition to a gorilla, who climbs within the tree cover out of attain. The beast drops projectiles and enemies from above. My path to victory is to leap on prime of the enemies to stun them, then toss them again on the gorilla, all whereas avoiding the hazards falling from above. It is not an excessively tough encounter, however I may see how the battle would hassle some gamers.
Whereas I benefit from the 8-bit aesthetic, I used to be comfortable to be taught that the model on fashionable platforms contains the flexibility to toggle to a widescreen HD model with the identical visible type because the Nickelodeon cartoon. Since my hands-on demo was the NES model, I did not get to see it in motion, however I can already inform that shall be my most popular artwork type as soon as I get my fingers on the ultimate model of the sport.
Rugrats: Adventures in Gameland was a giant shock announcement, however I used to be additionally pleasantly stunned by how a lot enjoyable I had with the sport. Although the Rugrats franchise missed the practice on the NES period of gaming, it is enjoyable to think about what may have been by Rugrats: Adventures in Gameland. Count on to play it someday in 2024 on fashionable platforms and NES.