I consider the original Battletoads to be one of the most – if not the most – difficult games ever made. I spent hours upon hours on it and still was unable to beat it. However, I still have fond memories of playing it and thus was excited when they announced this reimagining.
Nice modern take on the classic. As someone that has actually played the original (although was unable to beat it), I quite enjoyed this modern reimagining. It takes some of the most iconic parts from the original – the satisfying beat ‘em up mechanics, the speed bike sections, and the constantly shifting gameplay – and gives it a bit of a spin to better fit modern standards.
On one hand, the game as a whole is a lot easier, but if you play it on the hardest difficulty, some parts can still bring out that classic difficulty that the original has become known for. This new one is more so not as difficult because it is rather forgiving with checkpoints. The gameplay itself is hard, but you don’t have to spend so much time constantly restarting entire chapters of the game like the original.
On the other hand, some of the change are really nice to have. There’s no longer any friendly fire and they really went to work at bringing out the strengths of the beat ‘em up segments. Now there is this entire combo system to play around with and you can use your toad’s tongue to jump to places, bring enemies closer to you, and even spit gum to temporarily immobilize enemies. It’s a fun experience for the roughly 4-6 hours that it lasts and a solid evolution of the original.
Good gameplay variety. Perhaps the game’s biggest strength is that it is not simply a beat ‘em up. Most of the time with games that fall into that genre, it gets a bit repetitive the more you play, but with Battletoads, you’re constantly shifting from one genre to another. At the beginning it’s just your regular beat ‘em up, but suddenly it’s a 2D platformer and then a racing game and then a space shoot ‘em up and then a straight-up puzzle game. It kinda jumps all over the place and – while some segments are stronger than others (more on that later) – I quite liked the variety offered here.
Excellent graphics and performance. This is a really good-looking game. Sure, some may not be fans of the very cartoony aesthetic, but it’s hard to fault it at the technical level. The animations are incredibly smooth, the backgrounds are detailed and offer a good bit of depth, and the character designs are pretty cool too. And it does all of this while running smoothly as well. During my playthrough I had no issues with bugs, freezes, or crashes – it ran perfectly at 1440p and over 300 fps on my 1070 Ti.
And while I’m on the topic of technicalities, I should mention that the controls are good too. I played on a controller, but tested the keyboard and mouse controls and saw no reason to change the default layout – although that is an option for those that want to do so.
Hit or miss gameplay segments. While most of the game plays fine, there are some segments that kinda fall flat. For example, there is a section of the game after the halfway point where it turns into a 2D puzzle-platformer. This could have been fine if it was anywhere near the quality of some of the better puzzle-platformers we’ve been getting this year, but unfortunately it just comes off as barebones. You move around some blocks, shuffle around elevators, and it’s really just the most basic kind of puzzle you could get.
And then you have segments that play fine, but drag on for too long, such as the space shoot ‘em up segments. The overall gameplay is kinda hit or miss like this, with some really highlighting the game’s strengths while others are just flat-out boring.
Hit or miss story. And just as with the gameplay, Battletoads has an equally up and down storyline. Unlike the original, there are full-fledged cutscenes with voice acting and proper animation scattered throughout. They make use of stupid jokes, exaggerated lines, and really just the general banter you get from modern kid’s cartoons. This is not bad in itself, but I found it to be pretty boring for the most part – childish jokes, predictable plot developments, it just felt mediocre overall. Granted, I am likely not the target audience for this type of humor – and this is not a game to be played for the story – but it was a decent enough chunk of the game that the point had to be made.
Battletoads may not be a must-play, but it is still a nice evolution of the original. It brings several of the iconic features from it while making some cool changes of its own. There’s the satisfying beat ‘em segments, the top-tier graphics and animation, and the constantly shifting gameplay just to name a few. However, it is not without its issues, most notably with regards to how hit or miss that gameplay is and the story that follows suit. Still, it’s a decent enough play for those that liked the original and new players too, maybe worth a look if you can catch it on sale.
Quote: Battletoads may not be a must-play, but it is still s a nice evolution of the original. It brings several of the iconic features from it while making some cool changes of its own.
You can buy Battletoads on Steam here. The game is also available through the Microsoft Store, Xbox Game Pass, and on Xbox One.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.