Microids has had a strong last quarter of the year with family friendly titles like Marsupilami and The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf. They’re ending the year with another one: Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All, which is based on the classic Asterix and Obelix comics and cartoons. It’s out for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PCs – we tried it out on a PlayStation 4.
I’ll admit that I’m a little biased when it comes to the Asterix license – I grew up reading the comic books and later discovered the animated films on television as well. When French publisher Coktel Vision launched Asterix: Operation Getafix back in 1989, I marveled at how it looked “exactly like the comic books” on my Atari ST screen. Of course the world “exactly” is bit of a relatively concept, but Asterix & Obelix – Slap Them All did provide a nice sense of deja vu.
For those unfamiliar with Asterix and Obelix – they’re two Gauls who live in a small French village during the time of the Roman empire, and regularly get into trouble with the invading Roman forces stationed nearby. The local druid has a special potion that briefly grants Asterix inhuman strength though, so even though there are often fights the Gaul village always stands proudly at the end of the day. Meanwhile, Asterix’ friend Obelix fell into a cauldron of the potion as a baby, and thus doesn’t even need to drink it anymore – whenever he’s not busy eating entire boars with his insatiable appetite, he’s happy to join his buddy in a scrimmage.
In recent years, the adventures of Asterix and Obelix have been digitized through the XXL series of games, which were hybrid action adventures with a few puzzles added in as well. They’ve been remastered (or “Romastered”) as well, so it’s been quite a while since we’ve had a proper new game. Slap Them All goes back to the basics and simplifies things by opting for a straight out brawler that’s not too unlike classic arcade games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Final Fight – though with a distinctly more cartoon-like aesthetic.
And while there’s less diversity in gameplay, there’s more content, with 50 levels to complete, giving it far more content than the arcade games it was inspired by. And like those arcade games, this is a title that’s best enjoyed together – though by design this is a game that’s limited to two-player action as it focuses on Asterix and Obelix as the main characters rather than involving some of the lesser-known villagers.
The game doesn’t scale up when you add a second player either, so things are definitely more challenging when playing solo. Having a buddy take down the enemies that would otherwise hit you from range is incredibly helpful, and makes this game a great candidate for cooperative multiplayer sessions. And it’s easy to jump in for newcomers as well, as the title is a good clue that combat isn’t very strategic in nature. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon then you’ll know that Obelix loves to grab a Roman at an arm’s length, and after a pause slap them silly with the other hand. It’s the kind of silliness that made the series popular, and it’s been adapted well for this game.
What certainly makes the experience better as well is the fact that Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All looks exactly like the source material – for real, this time. The backdrops all look like familiar scenes from the comics, and the characters are detailed and well animated. It may be a tad formulaic as a gameplay experience, but it’s brilliant nostalgia-fueled fun for Asterix fans – especially when playing together.