Mega Bad Man
Remember Mighty No. 9? You know that crowdfunded Mega Man want to be that failed miserably? Well Nefarious has a lot in common with that game as it was also crowdfunded, and is influenced by the Blue Bomber, but is it shit? Read on to find out (or just skip to the score, you monster,!
Read on to find out… or just skip to the score, you monster!
Unlike most games, in Nefarious you’re playing as the bad guy. When I say, bad guy, I don’t mean cringy nihilist murderer like the 3edgy5me antagonist from Hatred, but more so like the (literally) colorful bosses from the 16-bit era. Your goal? To kidnap a bunch of princesses and use their royal powers to make a weapon to control the world. While it doesn’t make a lot of sense, it does its job.
As you’ve probably gathered this game doesn’t take itself seriously, as everything about it is zany and over the top. All of the princesses have strong personalities and grant you ridiculous powers as you’re carrying them off through the level.
There are a few levels that completely change the look of the game such as the majestic underwater level (seen above) and a level that borrows the style from Gunman Clive. But most of the time levels are pretty standard platforming levels that are nothing to write home about and kind of forgettable, aside from their… hero fights.
You’re the boss, so at the end of each level, you fight a hero that is attempting to stop you from taking the princess, typically via huge robots that will look familiar to Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog fans especially. Remember that boss battle where Dr. Robotnik (I’ll never call him anything to do with eggs) is swinging a wrecking ball from his ship trying to crush Sonic? Well, you basically get to play that fight from the mustachioed man’s perspective. The hero fights are probably the best part of the game, it is too bad there are so few of them, as not every level has one.
If only combat were as entertaining throughout the levels where you’ll only have a punch and a grenade, both of which can be upgraded. As your left stick or mouse aim your attacks in a 360-degree range around, you’ve got the freedom be rather precise, which is required due to the length of your punching arm. I found it easier to just chuck grenades (which are on a cooldown or enemies drop them near constantly) at enemies faces than to deal with punching most of the time, as they provide the speed and range required.
“hero fights are probably the best part of the game, it is too bad there are so few of them”
As for platforming, most levels are hit or miss as they aren’t all that memorable or and lack any challenge at all. Jumps are stiff like the Mega Man games, which you may love or hate. They work but the level design is just so lacking that you’ll be doing them without much thinking. There are a couple of nice additions to the typical mix, however, such as grenade pads you can use to blast yourself off of, just like your normal grenades that can be used to grenade jump to reach various secrets and collectibles hidden throughout the game. And really, who doesn’t love grenade jumping? It just works here, especially with the unlockable stick grenades that automatically explode when you jump on top of them.
The graphics here are hit or miss; the characters themselves are fluid and anime-like, while the backgrounds range from pretty to downright ugly. If anything the art isn’t consistent. The music is pretty good though with a mix of chiptune and ‘music for modern day normies’ in there as well. No Aerosmith unfortuantely. Clearly, a missed opportunity that seemingly most games make.
Probably the game’s biggest sin of all is the numerous bugs I experienced, which seems like a constant on just released Steam games these days. I had the game refuse to continue after a hero fight, the frame rate drop a couple of times, and numerous times where either certain sound effects stopping playing or just weren’t there, to begin with when they clearly needed to be. Not enough bugs to poison the proverbial well here, but enough to be more than a minor annoyance.
I know I’ve been mostly critical of the game but there are some things to love here. As mentioned the princesses all have strong personalities that are shown via text blurbs that pop up throughout the level and while held captive on your ship. Nefarious also answers the question of what the relationships are like between the bad guy and the princesses they capture time and time again. Are they friends or is it Stockholm syndrome? You’ll have to play to make up your mind. The story, while short is interesting at least. Maybe a bit predictable. There appear to be at least two different endings, or so I’m inclined to believe due to the dialogue in the game, much of which plays on video game tropes.
Are you a bad enough dude to kidnap princesses and use them to make a powerful weapon to rule the world? I was and it was alright alright alright.