Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Ratalaika Games S.L. / Rohan Narang
Release Date: October 12th, 2017
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
With the Switch in high gear, it seems every indie developer is bringing their game to the system. In many of the cases, this is great news which is supplying us with an overabundance of quality titles. This also means that we are starting to see a bigger push of phone ports hitting the system, which brings us to the beat ‘em up Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition. Having started as game made for phone always seem to bring a stigma along with it when it makes its way to a console. Squareboy doesn’t do a whole lot to tear down that stereotype.
Squareboy’s very premise can be mostly wrapped up in the title. You are going to fight your way through an army of bullies after your sensei has taught you a few moves to take on those pushing you around. The art is slightly charming at first, taking a throwback to the 8-bit days. Even the combat system is something from the past, with a couple of punch combos, grabs, and some items you can toss at your enemies. Things start to go downhill from there quickly.
When playing on the phone as it was made for, the art doesn’t look so bad, but expanding it out on to the Switch’s screen or on your TV makes everything look over pixelated compared to its original release. The combat system gets old very quickly once you realize that there is no challenge to the game. Typically, a beat ‘em up is going to provide some frustrations on your journey to the end, but here if you can mash the punch button fast enough, you’re not in any danger. Even if you get boxed in you have a simple spin attack that will knock everyone around you down. It’s easily a game you can complete without ever dying, which kills the excitement.
Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition has potential. It looks unique and it’s not very hard to pull off an entertaining old school beat ‘em up. Yet it doesn’t seem they even tried to upscale the graphics at all when trying to port the game for bigger screens. The worst offense is the actual gameplay which provides no challenge what’s so ever. Even the addition of co-op can’t save it from this. The price might make it a tempting purchase, but this is one your better off avoiding.