|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konjak||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konjak||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: N/A||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
You can't beat on the same cannon fodder-esque robots all day long. That's where the boss fights come in. Boss fights in 2D games are always about sound pattern recognition - learn the schedule of enemy attacks, and you're golden. Here the formula's no different, but the execution is just so well done. You'll been racing on top of a water wheel careening down a river while fighting one boss; another puts you in charge of a giant keyboard that triggers attacks - hit the right key, and the boss takes a massive wallop. Perhaps one of the most inventive bosses is a digital signal that controls a set of T.V. channels; every time a new channel is triggered, a new set of attacks occur. For example, when the channel flips to sports, a soccer player appears and kicks a ball out of the screen toward the foreground; this results in a massive explosion.
Tying together all this frantic action is a colorful sprite-based graphical engine. Sure, nothing is hi-def, but that's not the point. It's all about fluid animation and keeping things moving along at a constant pitch. This allows the game to play homage to the classic Treasure games which surely had an influence on the developer. Not only is it refreshing to see a sprite-based game, but it means that it won't be taxing your computer hardware. To illustrate: the game was reviewed on a generic, two-year-old desktop and there was never a single frame rate dip. Underpinning the presentation is a solid MIDI soundtrack that ties together the old school 2D package. Each level has its own identifiable, catchy theme.
The fine tuning of the game comes through in the difficulty department. The screen may look ever-chaotic but the situation is always manageable. The game never crosses that all too common line into frustrating territory. You may die from time-to-time trying to figure out enemy patterns, but once learned, the strategy shifts from just clearing levels to getting the best letter grade. The formula for this grade is made up of overall time, enemies destroyed, top combos, and hits taken.
With Noitu Love 2 - Devolution, Konjak has absolutely hit the 2D nail on the head: it plays like a long-lost gem from the Treasure catalog, while still managing to flesh out its own quirky identity. Action fans don't want to pass this one up.
CCC Freelance Writer