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Kidnapping the princess: the video game (Nefarious review)

It's safe to expect everyone knows the old and worn out story: the fair, just and lovely princess is abducted by the sinister and vile villain. The hero tracks the bad guy to his lair, beats him up and rescues the princess. Nefarious is a game that turns the setting around: this time YOU are the villain out to get the princess. And this time, the hero won't be the last one standing at the end of the day.

The villainous protagonist of the game's story is Crow, an evil genius and a traditional classic villain through and through, and highly proud of it to boot. Naturally, this also means that he's been on the losing side of the battle about as long as he can remember, thwarted time and time again by the human kingdom's champion hero Mack. Only one day Mack grows tired of the same old meaningless game and utterly dismisses Crow, effectively stating that he's no longer a considerable threat. Too bad this gives Crow the opportunity he has always needed to expand his evil operations. As one would expect from a villain who's a man of traditions, Crow wants to take over the world, with a doomsday weapon no less. A particular doomsday weapon which draws it's power from the members of the royal families to be exact.

On the whole, the game is an old school-style platformer with everything that comes with it: several levels with different designs and multiple types of traps and enemies to deal with. Crow has two ways to fight his foes: punching them out with his mechanized power-fist or blowing them up with grenades, which are also useful for boosting his jumps. Like with several old games, the levels can sometimes be rather bothersome to get through, though this is lessened by the fact that should you die, you'll only lose some of the money you've collected, which can be reacquired with relative ease. Every single level comes with a boss fight at the end. Of course, with you playing as the main villain of the story, you're essentially the boss fighting against the hero or heroes attempting to stop you, making it technically a 'reverse boss fight'. Virtually the entire game is one giant-sized tribute to or parody of various classic games from the 1980s or 90s. For instance, the human princess, princess Mayapple makes less than zero effort to hide the fact that she's a blatant parody of princess Peach. And there are several others, from the vehicles Crow pilots during the reverse boss fights to various other characters.

I'd say Nefarious does a fairly good job at reversing the usual setting and making fun of some of the most famous (and overused) clichés. Unfortunately, as is often the problem with indie games, Nefarious didn't receive a massive amount of recognition. It was funded on Kickstarter, but it reached it's goal only barely, almost at the last possible moment even. While it's certainly a proper platformer game, it's unlikely to offer anything truly unique in terms of gameplay. Nevertheless, I consider it a good game with a good story and some quite memorable characters.However, since the story appears to get more attention than the game, it's unlikely there will ever be a sequel game. With some people stating that they've never played it despite genuinely enjoying the game's premise and art. Instead, the story is continued in the form of a webcomic, some parts of which can only be seen by supporting the series' creator Josh Hano on Patreon. On the whole, I'd recommend Nefarious to anyone who's into retro style games, or maybe those who like taking on the role of the bad guy just for fun.

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