Hey everyone, I'm back! This time around I'm bringing you my review of A Hole New World on Xbox One. So jump right in! I mean up, no wait, I meant upside-down as we explore this throwback to the 8-bit days of glory!The city of Versee is under attack by monsters from the Upside Down world (no, not Stranger Things - sorry folks!) and it's up to you alone, the Potion Master to defeat the evil and restore peace to the world. Fear not though, for Fäy your companion fairy will assist you on your journey to banish this evil from the land.
In A Hole New World, players are shown a brief "cut-scene" describing the current state of affairs and are then immediately thrust into the shoes of the aforementioned Potion Master. As the Potion Master, you are the only one equipped to defeat the evil presence using none other than your potions! From the start, A Whole New World looks, plays, controls, sounds like, and feels just like any of the classic platformers from the 8-bit days of Nintendo. And just like those games of old, the controls are tight and simple. The challenge is in the gameplay. Right from the start you'll be faced with enemies following a set pattern of movement and you'll have to time your attacks and jumps just right to defeat them and survive. Your attacks are comprised of the basic cardinal directions - left, right, up, and down. However, when throwing your potions be mindful that they project in an arc. In addition, you can also Fäy as a weapon by holding down the B button and letting go once charged. Fäy is then launched directly in front of you to blast through multiple enemies.
If you haven't gathered by now, the game is called A Hole New World because not only do you fight in the traditional world, but whenever you jump into a hole, you'll be come out in the upside down where gravity is reversed and the challenge is increased if no other reason than the flipped display on screen. What's really cool about the upside-down is that it is directly connected with the normal world so you will find yourself repeatedly jumping into holes from one world to the next in order to collect items, avoid environmental perils - such as spikes, or just to find an alternate path.
There are about 5 different worlds to explore, each with it's own unique theme, enemies, and massive boss fights. Once you defeat a boss, you'll obtain it's power in the form of a potion, and you can switch between said potions at will. Some of these include lightning which when thrown creates a vertical column of lightning that destroys whatever enemies touch it. You'll also obtain a potion power which allows you to throw alternating balls of fire and ice which bounce off the environment. There are more, but I'll leave it to you to find those out for yourselves.
A Hole New World is focused heavily on combat and a small bit of platforming and it shows. You'll be quite challenged from beginning to end by the waves of enemies, difficulty spikes (at times these seem a bit unfair and sudden), and environmental/level challenges. For those who want a real challenge , there is even a speed run timer option.
Beyond Story Mode there is also Game+, Boss Rush Mode, Challenge Mode, and multiple endings. In addition, there are secret characters (NPC's) to discover, 30 different enemy types, and 7 boss battles.
In terms of visuals, you can see from the screenshots that A Hole New World looks just like an NES game and I think it looks great! Yes, a bit of it is nostalgia stirring within me, but I just happen to like simple graphics in games at times. The comparisons don't stop with the visuals because the audio is spot on with a great chiptune soundtrack. I found myself enjoying every track, every noise, every moment. Ok, maybe not every moment - those difficulty spikes can be a bit brutal ;-).
Overall, A Hole New World offers is a fun game complete with challenges, multiple modes, retro graphics and catchy chip tunes. So if you haven't tried it out, I recommend you add A Hole New World to your collection. It's worth every penny of the $10 price tag!