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Friday, April 1, 2022

Actraiser Renaissance

Billed as a remaster of the SNES cult classic, Renaissance is actually more of a full-blown remake, adding numerous new mechanics, a redone soundtrack (with Yuzo Koshiro returning to update all the tracks) and a visual style oddly reminiscent of an early PS1 or Sega Saturn game - CGI models turned into sprites are the pervading graphical element here.  The sidescrolling action stages give you slightly more of a moveset to utilize (tip: your down-slash gives you a crazy amount of invincibility frames), while the city building is much more goal-driven, giving you numerous milestones to hit and occasionally having you defend your settlements in a minigame that feels like a cross between a tower defense game and a real-time strategy.  You set down forts and barricades to slow enemies while moving around hero units to engage them, and when things get too dicey you can also utilize your god-powers (formerly just used to clear terrain for your cities to expand) to deal damage and slow down enemies.  It does have a few strange technical issues - I saw an awful lot of screen-tearing on the PC version, and turning on Vertical Sync in the options didn't seem to fix it; however, turning the framerate setting to Unlimited did.  But even with those, it's a pretty solid update of a well-regarded SNES title, and worth a play for old and new fans alike.

Developer: Square Enix/Sonic Powered
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: 2021
Platform: Steam, Playstation 4, Switch, iOS, Android