Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition is a love letter to the Game Boy and its vast library of classics. You know the game has a small dev team when the credits only have two names! Christophe Galati is the brains behind the project, and Galati is joined in the roll of honour by the musician Marc-Antoine Archier who brings the chip-tune soundtrack to life. You play as the titular Mr Tako as he tries to placate a rather nasty war that has erupted between his very own octopus species and the pesky humans. The original pre-Definitive Edition of Save Me Mr Tako has had a slightly chequered release history over the last two or three years, but a lot of the bugs that held it back before, and prevented support from certain publishers, have apparently been fixed now… but I’ll be the judge of that!
Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition is a platform adventure game; the game I can best compare it to by way of a description is Kirby’s Dream Land, with a bit of Wario Land mixed in for good measure. The story is basic but entertaining, and a number of Mr Tako’s friends and family feature in light-hearted fashion as you battle to keep the peace. From a nostalgic standpoint, Galati and Archier absolutely knock it out of the park; Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition looks and sounds exactly how you’d want a Game Boy tribute to do so.
Throughout Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition, there are hub levels with a number of sub-levels that you have to battle through in a predetermined order, and there are also a number of hats (50 to be exact) for Mr Tako to collect. The hat collection system provides a bit of added depth to the gameplay which, in turn, elevates it above being a bog-standard platformer. Each hat comes with its own special power that enhances Mr Tako’s health or abilities in one way or another.
- Mr Tako and his cohort are fun and likeable
- The Game Boy graphics and soundtrack are perfectly and faithfully executed
- Hat collecting system makes for a fun side-quest
Unfortunately, Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition feels like a victim of its own nostalgia. Of course, games developed on an 8-bit handheld console 30 years ago have significantly aged in today’s money. I appreciate this is an indie tribute to the Game Boy, and I think that justifies the graphics and soundtrack limitations, however the gameplay for me felt a bit too basic and perhaps there was scope to advance it further in the modern age. For example, there is no in-game pause menu that would have helped to check progress and collected items. I also found myself collecting a number of in-game story items but subsequently found it impossible to remember what I had picked up and why.
Some of the early levels are so rudimentary that they almost feel like filler. Whilst the challenge does significantly pick up as it goes on, I found myself getting a bit bored of the early stages and I almost ended up putting the game down as a result. There’s also no in-game map at all which makes it hard to track where to go and when – you need to play completely off your own memory so as to remember where Mr Tako’s house is, where the hat-changing shops are, etc. This made for a frustrating experience at times.
- No in-game pause/inventory menu
- Lack of in-game map makes it easy to get lost
- Gameplay feels a bit too basic at times, especially early on
Final Score: 7/10
Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition definitely captures all the essential qualities that made me fall in love with the Game Boy almost 30 years ago and is a welcome arrival in my life right now. If, like me, you grew up in the 90s, you will most certainly have owned or at least played a Game Boy. The green-screened handheld is the foundation of my gaming life because it’s where I played most of the earliest games of my childhood. The games I liked and the games I hated on the Game Boy have basically influenced my tastes up to the present day. However, despite its faithful recreation, Save Me Mr Tako’s gameplay can be bland at times and the user interface, or lack thereof, can fog the whole experience.
You just can’t beat a bit of nostalgia and Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition shows there’s life in the old dog yet.
Thank you for checking out our Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition Switch review, thank you to Cristophe Galati for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: