I’m getting a reasonably highly effective sense of déjà vu taking part in via Contra Returns. Final month, I sat down with Mega Man X DiVE and located myself having fun with the franchise’s transition to the cell, free-to-play format. I believed Capcom did a reasonably good job of capturing the essence of Mega Man X earlier than shackling it to the options typical of F2P video games. It controls nicely, the characters all look fantastic, and whereas it didn’t present a lot of a platforming problem, the sport did handle to result in some pleasure on my numerous breaks and lunches.
I believed that could be the one free-to-play I give such reward to this yr, and but, right here I’m lower than a month later, having almost the very same ideas about Contra Returns.
Contra Returns involves us from Konami and TiMi Studio Group, the latter of which can also be behind the lately launched Pokémon Unite. The sport first debuted about 4 years in the past in China and is simply now reaching our shores, bringing with it a degree of polish you’d hope for in a sport that’s been available on the market for this lengthy. Like with Mega Man X DiVE, Contra Returns controls fairly nicely, makes use of auto-aim along with a largely dependable handbook intention, and reveals a sure degree of appreciation for the franchise’s historical past.
The story isn’t all that particular — aliens, evil troopers, corrupt scientists — however story has by no means actually been the draw of the sequence. At the very least not for me. I’ve extra targeted on the tight run ’n’ gun gameplay and the very fact the franchise featured two attractive, muscular males named Invoice and Lance, which collectively sound like escorts you’d discover within the labeled part in previous problems with Honcho. Gamers begin with Invoice unlocked, however you’ll must earn Lance, in addition to a number of different characters from the franchise. Sheena from Contra: Arduous Corps and Ray Poward from Contra: Legacy of Warfare are up for grabs, as are unique characters like Jean and Code 018, each of whom appear to be they bought misplaced on their technique to the sport they’re alleged to be in and simply settled on being gacha pulls right here.
Every playable character can double soar and equip two weapons they’ll alternate between in battle. Weapons have a cool-down meter that should replenish after you’ve exhausted all its bullets, so in case you’re fast sufficient to alter out your weapon, you possibly can hold these guns-a-blazing with out stopping. Inside every degree, there are power-ups to unlock just like the Unfold Shot or Flamethrower, simply as you probably did within the unique sport. However now, these talents are additionally discovered on devoted weapons you possibly can unlock. Every character additionally has two distinctive assaults and a shared tremendous weapon that can be utilized as soon as per degree. As you need to anticipate by now with free-to-play video games, your whole heroes and weapons will be upgraded and promoted with all of the shit you gather taking part in via the marketing campaign and finishing challenges.
And it’s clear the builders wish to hold individuals taking part in for a lengthy time. There’s a stable handful of supplemental modes you unlock as you degree up your profile, a few of which you most likely gained’t get entry to for a number of days or longer, relying on how a lot you play. I’m notably keen on the One-Life Mode, which challenges gamers to make it so far as they’ll in a degree with out getting hit, channeling the times of Contra earlier than everyone leaned in regards to the Konami Code. There’s a stamina meter that can restrict how a lot you play per day, however the sport is so rattling beneficiant with recharges early on that my telephone really ran out of juice earlier than my stamina meter did.
As a lot enjoyable as I’m having with it (which I’ll admit is a good quantity), some massive minuses associate with all these pluses. To start with, Contra Returns has some reasonably bland artwork path. The heroes look tremendous, if a bit dated, and among the recreated boss encounters are good, however they’re caught in a sport with extremely generic backgrounds. As for the degrees themselves, they’re transient and lack the problem of the previous 2D video games. There’s some selection in degree kind, together with fast-paced auto-scrollers, however I don’t assume anyone goes to go gaga over any of the phases right here. There are additionally the requisite PvP modes that I don’t actually take care of and co-op modes which can be enjoyable however take too rattling lengthy to unlock.
After all, there’s additionally quite a lot of free-to-play nonsense related to the title. This features a buttload of advertisements, a menu that feels prefer it was designed to confuse gamers, a questionable season go, and an excellent quantity of gacha. I might advise all gamers to chorus from spending cash on this sport till you’re completely positive you wish to take care of all that. And even then, perhaps sleep on it.
With all that in thoughts, I do must say it’s good to see a free-to-play cell app that really appears to be like and feels just like the franchise it’s primarily based on, even when it may possibly’t match the precise gameplay type of its forebearers. That’s a thought that’s been on my thoughts following the uproar Kotaku precipitated lately over its protection of XCOM Legends. The unique headline to that story was definitely provocative, however the fallout following its publication proved to be worthwhile as some cell builders took the chance to offer just a little education on the actuality of the enterprise.
The reality is, concessions are made when any IP makes the soar to cell. It’s simply as much as the developer and writer to resolve what number of concessions they wish to make. Contra Returns, it fares higher than most. There are noticeable sacrifices, however a transparent effort was made to retain the essence of the sequence and the sport is best off due to it. Enjoying it really feels such as you’re taking part in a Contra sport, even when it’s not fairly what you keep in mind. And till Konami provides the keys of the franchise again to WayForward Applied sciences to make Contra 5, that’s the very best we will hope for proper now.