Super Perils of Baking is a remake of an earlier indie platformer from Lillymo Games, and it’s a lovely homage to the golden days of 8- and 16-bit Nintendo consoles. It’s out on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation, and we checked out the PS4 version.
Although we weren’t familiar with the original Perils of Baking (shame on us – we’ve since rectified this), we did play some of Lillymo’s previous titles, which include games like Habroxia and Twin-Breaker – both excellent late generation titles for the PlayStation Vita. Perils of Baking (Refrosted) was actually the studio’s first title on the platform, and cements Lillymo’s status as a developer who understands how to take a classic gameplay formula and put a modern indie spin on it.
In the case of (Super) Perils of Baking, it’s the 2D platformer, and this one even features two brothers – though not the kind that dresses in red and green, and not the kind that works together. The brother you control is an aspiring baker, but your immediate goal is to stop your brother – whose mind has been taken over by a magical baking hat that turns foodwares into your enemies. Sure, this isn’t a narrative-driven game and that story mainly serves to justify the silly cartoon-like stuff you see on screen, but it does set the stage for something silly and fun – and it has the gameplay to back that up.
While Lillymo inserts some of their own flair into their gameplay, they also know what makes the classics “work”, and Super Perils of Baking is an homage to the classic 16-bit platformers that Nintendo produced when they moved from the NES to the SNES. Games like Super Mario World and Super Mario All-Stars were clear sources of inspiration here, and those aren’t bad examples to base your design on.
The original Perils of Baking features a more NES-type look and feel, and the version we picked up while reviewing this remake had 40 levels to play though. Super Perils of Baking adds another 10 to that – though these mostly feel like bonus levels for those that completed the base game already due to their challenging difficulty level, which requires you to have a fairly good mastery of the game’s controls and mechanics.
Not that you’ll be doing anything radically different here, by the way. The game relies on familiar (classic) tropes like jumping on top of enemies to take them out, although the ability to pick up throwable items and use them as weapons isn’t very Mario-like – that’s perhaps more Donkey Kong Country. Death isn’t instant very often in Super Perils of Baking, as you have three hearts that to use up – a delight in light of today’s onslaught of challenging platformers. This one’s more family friendly in many ways, from the gameplay to the cartoon-like presentation.
To break up the standard platforming, you’ll also run into five boss fights – though these aren’t with different enemies but all with your brother, who uses new tricks and attack for each encounter, gradually making him more difficult to overcome. Other breaks from the norm include underwater sections, Indiana Jones-type mine carts and parts where you’re airborne, hanging from a balloon. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before if you were playing platformers around 1990, but it’s a great “best of” approach to the genre.
While still distinctly “retro” in its pixelated look and feel, Super Perils of Baking represents a major upgrade over the original game with much more colorful visuals, better detail and cheerful tunes. And while it clearly pays to console classics, it has a visual style of its own that also resembles some of the home computer classics of the era like Zool and James Pond. A lovely throwback to a great era for a timeless genre.