Disaster has struck the Digital Kingdom. Him has stuck and only you can defeat him. Narita Boy is the newest entry into the Metroidvania genre coming to us on March 30th, 2021 and is the debut title from Studio Koba. In this love letter to the 80s, you play as the titular character as you are tasked by the Motherboard to defeat the villain known as Him. Him has attacked The Creator and thrown the Digital Kingdom into disarray with his army of evil soldiers known as Stallions. In these times of desperation, Narita Boy, the Digital Hero, was activated to stop Him. Draw your tricolored TechnoSword!
Narita Boy’s gameplay is where the game shines, particularly in its combat. Your character is fast, with several movement options like a fast fall and a dodge, offense abilities like a sword slash, shotgun blast, and heavy damage laser beam. These options reward aggressive and evasive gameplay, which provides a deeper combat system than can normally be found in standard Metroidvania games. It feels great to weave through enemy attacks to riddle them with cuts and slashes. Our character will float in the air for a bit so long as you’re hitting an enemy with melee attacks, allowing you to deal with more durable airborne enemies for longer than a few seconds.
One overarching issue is that instead of having enemies wander throughout the gameworld, the game opts to put the player into encounters, blocking your progression to fight a group of enemies. Nothing wrong with that, however these encounters are not frequent enough and when combat is the strongest point of the game, I found myself feeling a bit starved of it. I had only found one room in which enemies wander free of the confines of a scripted encounter and it was before I had even acquired the TechnoSword, so they were more obstacles than enemies. Furthermore, the scripted combat encounters do not repeat themselves and are placed only along the intended path of progression, this being the game’s only indicator that you are indeed going the correct way. My least favorite part was the time I’d spent running around trying to find the door a key goes into; the person that gave it to me was too busy telling me lore to give me any idea on where the key goes, leaving me to wonder why there isn’t a map.