Port roundup: The Origin – Blind Maid, Why Pizza?, The Wizard and the Slug & Thunder Kid II

We always enjoy it when games that were previously released get a new opportunity to shine. Today, we’re checking out The Origin: Blind Maid, Why Pizza?, The Wizard and the Slug and Thunder Kid II: Null Mission, which all received console releases.

The Origin: Blind Maid review (PS4)

In the world of AAA horror franchises, Resident Evil often comes to mind first. We’ve had some excellent horror productions from smaller studios in recent years though, mostly in the weeks leading up to Halloween. The Origin: Blind Maid launched last July and has now made it across to PlayStation 4 as well, with several improvements that weren’t in the original PC version.

The story and core gameplay remain the same though, and revolve around a corrupt politician (insert your favorite joke here) who’s on the run from justice but unknowingly steers himself in direction of an area haunted by ancient and horrific legends. When his assistant runs off with the car keys, he’s lost and on a quest to survive and hopefully make things right as his journey confronts him with his troubled past as well as the horror of the region he’s in.

The Origin: Blind Maid is clearly a very ambitious project for developer Waraní Studios, who have combined a wide array of gameplay mechanics here. They’re also taking a page out of the Resident Evil playbook when it comes to how ammo was very scarce in the early games of that franchise. When you run out, all that’s left is to run away – though this is also frustrating because you can imagine wanting to grab anything you can find in order to melee your way out of trouble, but this just isn’t possible here.

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There’s an interesting character progression and crafting system as well, some of which will improve your stamina (which is a welcome upgrade as our protagonist tires extremely quickly at first) while others provide temporary perks and abilities. You’ll also notice that parts of the environment can change, giving the atmosphere a Blair Witch vibe at times, especially when an ancient evil manifests itself in trees and creatures.

But while The Origin: Blind Maid sounds great on paper, it’s also a bit rough around the edges. Even after upgrading, your walking speed is very slow, the writing (or translation) isn’t great and mechanics like sneaking have been poorly implemented. Within the genre, there are better examples out there, even within the indie domain. It’s not exactly the high season for horror though, so if you’re desperately looking for something new to play then maybe this should be on your radar.

Why Pizza? review (PS4)

Why Pizza came out on Steam about a year ago to the day, when developer Marginal Act launched it for PCs. Now, thanks to Sometimes You, it’s also available for consoles, with versions for all major consoles coming out on June 22nd. We got an early peek at the PlayStation 4 version.

why pizza

When you learn about the premise for Why Pizza?, you could easily imagine it being some kind of Crazy Taxi-like title. Your character is heavily reliant on his pizza delivery job, so your challenge is to constantly deliver pizzas while they’re still warm. I bet you didn’t think this was a platformer, right? Unless you played Ninja Pizza Girl before, perhaps. This one leans far more into the bizarre side of things though, with mechanics and visuals that are certainly unique.

Imagine colorful and cartoon-like levels to traverse, with characters that have large bananas and pizza slices attached to long necks as their floppy heads. It’s that kind of weird. Physics-based elements are introduced through this as well, and it can take a bit of practice before you get comfortable with the floppy nature of controls. It’s a standard platformer at its core, but it looks and feels different from the norm. The timed element also adds to that, and you can pick up optional collectibles and jobs along the way as well for some more cash.

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Special abilities are equally weird, with a “helping hand” that pops up to help carry your character – essentially providing a double jump of dash ability. This, along with pickups, opens up the game to a bit of exploration and replay value a well, thanks to some solid level design. With a unique feel to it and a few interesting mechanics (if you enjoy oddball stuff like this), this is certainly worth a try at its budget price point.

The Wizard And The Slug review (PS4)

Originally released on Steam back in 2020, The Wizard of the Slug was developed by Silkworm and is now being launched on all major consoles by Ratalaika. Though it’s a somewhat generic platformer at heart, there are a few nice creative touches that make it interesting – least of which is its comedic fantasy setting.

wizard

In the game, you play as a slug who pairs up with a wizard who’s on the run, traveling through a fantasy land and exchanging banter at times. Although there are attempts at a serious plotline here and there, you’ll mostly notice that the dialogue is forgettable, which just a few jokes here and there managing to conjure up a smile. There are fun touches like moments where you temporarily pair up with other weird characters, and while it’s just enough to make the journey more fun, it’s nothing you’ll remember a week later.

The gameplay mechanics are interesting, with the wizard and slug working together. Our slug is a typical platforming character who can bounce on the top of enemies and shoot a variety of bullet types, but he also has the ability to shrink in size when he gets hit or fires bullets – allowing him to pass through tight spots but also making him more vulnerable during that time. The game is fairly generous with checkpoints though, so there’s no need to worry if you happen to get caught. To help you, you can have the wizard conjure up platforms as well, letting you reach places that are normally out of reach.

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Also interesting are boss fights, which make good and sometimes creative use of the abilities and bullet types you can collect. A playthrough of The Wizard and the Slug should last most players about three hours, which is good value for the price. If you’re only interested in the trophies, then you’ll grab those in much less time than that.

Thunder Kid II: Null Mission review (PS4)

It hasn’t been long since we checked out Thunder Kid’s first outing on consoles, but because the sequel was released on Steam over two years ago we didn’t have to wait long for that one to get ported over as well. Eastasiasoft is once again publishing, and it’s out for all major systems.

In Null Mission, the evil Robot Empire is up to their old tricks again, kidnapping people and forcing you to go after them in levels that look like Space Harrier inside a corridor with the titular Thunder Kid. If you played the original, everything here will look incredibly familiar, as no apparent improvements have been made to the visuals, sound effects and music. We know “more of the same’ gets used a lot in sequels, but here it’s like the developer went into the level designer and just threw a few more levels together.

thunder kid

To break up the rather repetitive main gameplay, boss fights throw up a decent amount of challenge, but you still shouldn’t have too much trouble getting through the trophy requirements for the game. As with the first game, more will come naturally, and you don’t need to beat the entire game to grab a platinum. In fact, with the gameplay somewhat lacking, one of this game’s main assets is the fact that the trophies don’t just come easy – you even get two of each if you have access to a PS5, as the PS4 and PS5 version are bundled together. One for the trophy hunters out there.

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