Wonder Boy Collection review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Bliss Brain
Developer: ININ Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

The Wonder Boy series from Sega is a vast collection of great games across many different platforms. Whether it was in the arcade, or on a modern console like the PS4 or Switch, you’ve probably played a Wonder Boy game. Surprisingly, Bliss Brain and ININ Games have brought us the Wonder Boy Collection, and while it does contain a few good games from the series, it falls a little flat.

The first Wonder Boy began in the Arcades as an action platformer. As Tom-Tom the Wonder Boy, it’s up to you to rescue your girlfriend from the clutches of the Demon King that kidnapped her. You must guide Tom-Tom through a series of worlds in a race against time to reach your goal. Along the way, you’ll battle enemies with your rock hammer and collect fruit that will add to the amount of time you have to complete each world. You can also find a skateboard that will help you get through areas faster and add some height to your jumps. Be careful using it though as you can fall off cliffs and run into obstacles a bit easier. This first game on the collection is an accurate port of the arcade original, with some extra options added. You can now rewind the action at anytime if you get hit, and you also have infinite credits. Combining these two options together basically makes sure you can never full die and the game is a breeze to play.

You also have various screen sizes based on your preference, however anything except the Widescreen option gives you a cartoon border around the screen that cannot be disabled. I personally do not like these static images and wish there was a way to turn them off. There are also screen shaders and effects like scanlines and the ability to sharpen the pixels for a more accurate feeling of playing on a CRT TV or monitor. The scanlines don’t look very good and there no way to adjust them, also the pixel options just make the game look blurry or strange to me. I found it best just to leave these options alone, but others might enjoy how some of them look.

The second game we have is the arcade version of Wonder Boy in Monster Land. This is more of an action RPG but with 12 linear levels with monsters, traps, and items to buy with gold collected from defeating enemies. There are also secret doors and items to find in almost each level. The time limit from the first game is here again, but you cannot collect fruit to refill it. The only thing you can do is hopefully find an hour glass hidden in each stage to reset the clock. failure to do so will result in you losing a bit of your life, which can hinder your progress at times. A huge difference from the platform action of the first game, and the bases of what future Wonder Boy Games would become. A really fun game that can be challenging in some of the later areas. All of the options and effects offered in the first game are also here. One issue that does bother me about this one is the title screen used on the main menu is from the Master System version of the game which is not included in this collection. A shame to see a lazy mistake such as that, plus it would of been nice to have the options to play that version as well as the arcade version.

The last two games offered here are Sega Genesis titles. Wonder Boy in Monster World is a sort-of sequel to Monster Land. The level system is replaced with a more open world style, with the ability to return to earlier areas if needed. Spend gold collected from enemies to upgrade your armor and weapons while you complete tasks given to you by towns people or the leaders of each area. One of the more lengthy games on the Sega Genesis, this game has the ability to save your progress and also the extra features, such as rewinding as well. I’ve always loved this title and still own my original Genesis cart to this day. The inclusion of this game is definitely a highlight of this collection and I am glad they included it.

The final game, Monster World IV, is originally a Japanese only release that has been translated to English. This time you control a young Wonder Girl named Asha who hears spirits calling out for help. Upon hearing them, she leaves her village and sets out on an adventure into The Monster World. Along the way she meets a small blue monster named Pepe and a magical Genie. Together they must fight through Monster Land to defeat monsters and save the Elemental Spirits to bring back peace. This game has been released as a stand alone title on many platforms before, and even received the upgrade treatment with the release of “Asha in Monster World” about a year ago. This game also was featured on the original Sega Genesis Mini console as a bonus translated game. Having this one included is a bit strange as it would of made mode sense to include “Wonder Boy The Dragons Trap” or perhaps even the “Monster Lair” games, which are a series of horizontal shooters, to spice the collection up. Including a previously released title is not only useless for people who already own the original release, but it demonstrates a bit of laziness from the developers.

Ultimately, the Wonder Boy Collection is a mediocre release. While the titles included are all decent games, it seems lackluster in options and presentation. There is a very small “gallery” of art included which is made up of Master System covers and instruction book pages as well as a small amount of promotional art from magazines. Again, seeing Master System related screens in this collection while not offering the ability to actually play those versions demonstrates how phoned-in this collection really is. While the price isn’t terrible at $29.99, I feel it should offer more in the way of playable games, options and extras. If you are interested in picking this one up, I would say wait for a sale or price drop before diving in. Decent games in an overall disappointing package.

Note: Bliss Brain provided us with a Wonder Boy Collection Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-