Saturday, April 15, 2023

Game Review: 'Roniu's Tale'

As a wily wizard running for his life, you scamper throughout frantic single-screen levels in "Roniu's Tale," an NES-flavored action-puzzler that brings the pain from the opening screen.

Developers at Kunjee Studios worked with publishing partnership 8-Bit Legit to create the game, which has vibes of "Dig Dug" and "Adventures of Lolo" with a touch of "Solomon's Key." The aim was to create a game meant for the Nintendo Entertainment System in the mid-80s.

As you step on tiles, they disappear, making it impossible to backtrack. Meanwhile, enemies hunt you down as you try to grab a key and head for the exit. You deploy magical skills to dispatch enemies and bosses.

The simple concept is executed with precision. "Roniu's Tale" works far better on the Switch than it would as a mobile game, due to the necessity of precision controls rather than simple tap-and-smear action you can get away with on your phone.

The challenge starts with intensity and stays consistently demanding over 47 levels. You can swap out backgrounds with an array of screen borders, and to complete the 80s feel, there's even a full manual to peruse.

While plenty of trial and error is necessary to plow through "Roniu's Tale," the experience is usually lively and engrossing, making it not too much of a chore to bang your head against the same wall in particularly demanding levels before finally breaking through.

Filled with allusions and knowing winks to gaming's past, "Roniu's Tale" is a throwback joy that builds up a steady loop of aggravation leading to sweet satisfaction.

Publisher provided review code.

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