Recently, most of the PS Vita games that I’ve looked at from Ratalaika have been puzzle games. Or they’ve been mainly based around the platform puzzle genre. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been enjoying what I have played, but it’s great to be able to take a break from these so I was looking forward to taking a look at Super Wiloo Demake.
Super Wiloo Demake – The Plot
Our hero, Wiloo, is out with his friend Agatha and their dog. In what initially appears to be a friendly visit to Earth, a lonely alien called ETvaldo arrives. Seeing how happy their dog makes them, ETvaldo decides to take their dog – and all the other animals from the planet for himself. Understandably upset, Wiloo sets off to rescue his four-legged friend while the now not-so-friendly alien has sent some of the animals back… but not quite as docile as before – to stand in Wiloo’s way.
Originally developed for the PC by Juliano Lima (also known as lightUP) this has been ported to consoles by Ratalaika (who provided the copy for this review copy). Super Wiloo Demake is an 8-bit styled side-scrolling platform game that takes it’s inspiration from a certain Italian plumber released by a well known Japanese hardware and software publisher… but I won’t mention Nintendo or Mario here.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Infact, as soon as you start playing the game that’s where the problems start. Not because this is a particularly bad game but because for all the will in the world, all you can do while playing is subconsciously make comparisons to Super Mario Bros. The game is split into a 5 worlds, each broken down into a number of separate levels, with each world having a large boss at the end that needs to be defeated. As I’m sure you can guess, gameplay is simple – make your way from the start of each level to the end, avoiding or jumping on every creature in your path to defeat them.
Coins can be collected en route for bonus points (sound familiar) and each level has three large coins to be found as well. While not essential, collect enough of these during play and it grants to you access to a bonus stage, but I’ll mention that in a moment…
As well as the coins you can also collect various powerups during play. These change the outfit that Wiloo (or Agatha once you have unlocked her for play) wears. This gives you new powers and abilities, just in the same way Mario or Luigi have in their respective games. The costumes here are somewhat animal-themed and the abilities go in hand with these. The bee costume, for example, allows Wiloo to fly by repeatedly pressing the jump button.
While the game doesn’t use a lives system, these outfits give Wiloo an extra chance to keep playing if he collides with anything in the game rather than being forced to go back to the last checkpoint he visited. At the end of each level you’re taken to a map screen where you can choose to proceed to the next level, replay a level you have already completed or – if you have collected enough of the larger special coins – play the bonus stage.
While the map screen is yet another element that will be familiar to fans of the Mario series, the bonus stage is blatantly plagiarised from them. Here you’re taken to a memory matching game. You have three attempts to match cards from memory. Select single cards individually from a grid and they are turned over – match a pair and the item or costume you uncover is added to your inventory. Get the pair wrong and both are covered up and you lose one of your tries.
These bonuses can then be selected for use at the map screen prior to starting any of the stages giving you a slight edge when you come to play any of the levels, especially if you want to start off wearing a costume. Again, anyone used to playing the Mario games will have seen this all before.
Graphics are bright, bold and colourful as you’d expect from a retro platformer and do the job well enough. That being said, I’m not quite sold on the look and animation on Wiloo. His somewhat squat appearance does make it look as if he’s wearing a dress rather than the clothes in the game’s title screen so perhaps more clearly defined characters would have been better?
Sound effects and music are chirpy enough but don’t have that toe-tapping feel that will have you humming along as you play and none of the tunes are strong enough to stick in your head after you finish playing. They’re cheerful enough and suit the game well, but they’re nothing overly memorable.
Too Much Mario
What really plagues Super Wiloo Demake constantly as you play – and this is something that I really can’t get away from – is the fact that you just can’t avoid the Mario similarities. With any side-scrolling platform game there are bound to be some shared gameplay elements – that’s to be expected with the genre – but here it feels as if the developer has tried just a bit too hard to make this game into an unofficial Nintendo tribute.
Disregarding the sudden difficulty spike a few levels in where the complexity of the platforms increased, introducing several levels of moving platforms and confusing areas where you could walk in front of backgrounds that were barriers in previous levels, it was still fun to play. I did find myself experimenting with tried and tested Mario tropes, looking for hidden pathways and routes through the levels, and found myself pleasantly surprised when several of these worked.
While I did enjoy playing this, there wasn’t really anything remarkable or original that made it seem new or fresh. It really just came across as just another easily forgettable Mario clone. And that’s really the problem. No matter what backstory the game has, there’s no getting away from the fact that it is attempting to recreate a game that has been done better countless times over by Nintendo on several of their own systems.
Unfortunately for the developer, releasing a game that is such an obviously Mario clone means that it needs to offer something special to make it stand out. In the case of Super Wiloo Demake it doesn’t and it’s just another retro styled platformer. It’s still a fun retro platformer but there are a lot of others out there just as deserving and even the PS4/PS Vita Cross Buy support and £3.99 budget price point may not be enough to save it. It’s not a particularly bad game for the money, but if you’re looking for something original, then you’re in the wrong place.
At A Glance
- Title: Super Wiloo Demake
- Publisher: Ratalaika Gakes
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Memory Card Spare Required: Mb
- Cross Buy: Yes (PS4)
- Cross Play: N/A
- Online Multiplayer: N/A
- Local Multiplayer: N/A
- PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes