Monday, September 17, 2018
As raw concepts go, "Nefarious" is a gem. Playing as a pompous, egotistical villain who romps around action platformer levels to kidnap princesses and dispatch heroes, your goal is to conjure as much mayhem as you can muster.
The execution, though, leaves much to be desired. Playing at times like a rough beta -- with slippery controls, inconsistent hit detection and discomforting difficulty ramps and plateus amid levels, "Nefarious" is as rough around the edges as its ugly protagonist.
Despite the nagging flaws, there is plenty to enjoy in nefarious. If the premise makes you giggle, you'll surely appreciate the sense of power playing as a bad guy grants you.
A catchy soundtrack and charming visual style will give gamers who came of age in the 1990s much to appreciate. It takes considerable reflexes and pattern detection to make your way through the more harrowing parts, and handholding is kept at a minimum. A throwback that mocks conventions of the era while also leaning into them, the game shimmers with nostalgia.
"Nefarious" may not have quite lived up to its potential, but manages to win hearts and mind as an occasionally brilliant diamond in the rough. The ramshackle experience works especially well in short bursts, and manages to grow on you as much as you're willing to let it.
Publisher provided review code.