Over the last few years, reviving retro games has become a rather popular trend. With the nothing-to-lose digital distribution business model, forgotten franchises have been crawling out of the woodwork hoping to cash in on the iGeneration, thanks to the distant need of expensive distribution and a physical product.
While many might argue that these low budget remakes and rereleases are hurting retro gaming as we know it, we have to face reality and admit that the likes of Dizzy, Zool and Cosmic Spacehead are never going to rival the income in which the Call of Duty series will amass. If anything, should we be pleased that us oldies are being catered for in some for or another? Well, let’s find out...
Keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin’
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the original Prince of the Yolkfolk was how accessible and easy it was to pick up. Unlike the prior Dizzy games which required repeatted playthroughs to memorise confusing items whilst tackling challenging chasms, Prince of the Yolkfolk refined the entire process and made a simplistic adventure all ages could enjoy.
Codemasters have yet again tapped into this old mentality and provided a remake which understands the limitations of the devices it will be sold upon. Knowing that touch screen controls are the bane of gaming today and that egg-based physics were hard enough to control on a joystick, Dizzy has been granted infinite lives in Prince of the Yolkfolk to prevent any on-screen slips.
Although this review starts out on a plus, Dizzy’s big comeback is far from perfect due to a range of poor programming and graphical glitches. While we do live in a perfect world where game patches can be distributed over the air for errors unaccounted for prior to release, this is something which should not be happening on a remake where we’d like to think the developers have access to the original game code.
The first of the problems sadly lies exclusively with the Android range of smartphones. With limited space on the internal memory, the majority of applications downloaded feature the ability to relocate over to the SD card. Those that don’t offer this functionality usually don’t exceed a couple of megabytes, hoping to squeeze in unaccounted for. Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk on the other hand has absolutely no shame in this department by absorbing a massive 36mb from your internal storage. While this doesn’t sound like much written down, any Android user will tell you that internal storage space is crucial and any game which doesn’t allow SD card compatibility is the result of nothing but lazy programming. To put that in context, this tiny remake of Prince of the Yolkfolk was the largest application installed on my Xperia Play.
With the last problem in mind, this next issue could possibly be caused by the lack of space the game left the internal memory to work with. As you progress further into the game, you’ll start needing to traverse the playing field from side to side transporting various items to their intended recipients. This would be no problem if the game could actually keep up with the pace in which Dizzy is walking. Every now and then the game would freeze, display the wrong graphical tile for a split second and then need a moment to catch up with the egg’s current location. As the pace of Prince of the Yolkfolk has never required any quick reactions or responses, this error comes more as a disturbance to the HD glamour within than it does as a game breaker. Whether or not this issue will be resolved once the application is able to run from the SD card, who knows?
And last but not least comes a questionable inclusion not found in the original title. Should you find yourself trying to reach a rather high ledge and bump Dizzy’s head on the ceiling by accident, the egg protagonist seems to sport his new and unfamiliar ability to cling on to the target platform. This is not a bad inclusion per say, well, if it was actually followed through with some use. As Dizzy is hanging hopelessly underneath the platform you were so desperate to reach, you’d like to think he could pull himself up to carry on the adventure... Sadly all he can do at this point is let go. This wouldn’t be so bad except it happens all to often, mostly during the times when you’re not expecting it, often making the easier jumps rather difficult.
Don’t get us wrong, none of these issues mentioned above are game breaking, we’re just hoping Codemasters step forward and patch these said problems sooner rather than later.
Issues aside, Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk really shines in HD and proves that many more owners of retro gaming IP should be taking the opportunity to sit comfortably in everybodies pocket. This is evident within the first minute of play as you piece together the trusty dried leaves, match and water bucket puzzle. If by this point you haven’t been mesmerised by the jaw dropping visuals then the update to Matthew Simmonds' (4Mat) iconic theme tune will have you tapping your feet along to the familiar sound.
Codemasters have clearly approached the revival of a fading brand with the best intentions and approach possible. Although given Prince of the Yolkfolk only really offers an hour of gameplay at best, this release is only really one for those who have grown up alongside the Dizzy franchise amongst floppy disks and cassette tapes. While it would offer plenty of nostalgic re-playability, the hulking size of the application had me wanting to uninstall after a quick playthrough to recover my precious internal storage.
So to answer the opening question, this modern approach to a classic Dizzy adventure doesn’t quite meet the same standard of gameplay that the Amiga version of the game is known for, however the overall finesse and audiovisuals really make up for Dizzy’s 2011 shortcomings.
Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk HD Remake Gameplay Video
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