Necrosphere Deluxe, from developer Cat Nigiri, is a platforming Metroidvania boiled down to the absolute basics. With only two buttons, you’ll need to solve some very tricky platforming puzzles if you want to see the credits roll. Is it worth your time and the inevitable thumb calluses? Let’s discuss it, shall we?
The story is simple and a little dark. You play as agent Terry Cooper, but sadly you die in a tragic shootout in the opening scene. Instead of hell, you end up in the Necrosphere, which is some type of purgatory. Somehow, your two partners are leaving you notes and insisting that if you can find a way out of the Necrosphere, you’ll be welcomed back to the land of the living. But to do that, you’ll need to solve a buttload of challenging platforming puzzles.
As I said, the controls are simple. Two buttons simple, in fact. You move left with either left shoulder buttons, and you’ll move right with either R1 or R2. You’re partner has also scattered some handy tools about like some spandex pants, a jet pack and more. The spandex pants allow you to dash with a double tap of one of the two buttons. This skill allows you cross gaps in the floor, while the jet pack lets you reach new heights with its short bursts of power.
The puzzles can be both tricky to solve mentally and difficult to pull off. It’s quite amazing how brilliant these puzzles are considering the limited control scheme. Instead of a jump button, you’ll use what they call ‘gravity bubbles’ to bounce around the levels and avoid the fireballs and spikes. It’s actually quite fun to get around these levels, despite how difficult and frustrating it may be. And it really is frustrating. If I had a swear jar, I could have bought this game 20 times over in the first hour. But I kept going, because, despite my frustration, the generous checkpoints and tight controls kept it fun.
The world of Necrosphere is one giant connected map. You won’t have access to the whole thing until you find the upgrades, but when you do, you’ll need to travel back to early stages. That’s typical for Metroidvania games, but it kind of sucks to redo some of the extremely difficult puzzles after you’ve already completed them. They are a little bit easier the second time around, but it’s still sort of cheap way to increase the game length.
The music and soundtrack work perfectly for what’s going on, and the visuals are good enough. It’s a retro 8-bit design, which I love, but this is only okay. There is nothing visually that sets Necrosphere apart from other retro 8-bit platformers out there.
If you buy this from the PlayStation store, you’ll also get the PS Vita version of the game. I mostly played it on the Vita and it worked beautifully.
If you’re good, you can finish Necrosphere in less than three hours, but if you’re like me, you might be destined to wander around purgatory for eternity.
Necrosphere Deluxe PS4/PS Vita Review
Overall - Good - 6.9/10
Necrosphere uses an uber simple game design to make an otherwise difficult and frustrating retro platformer fun to play. Plus it cost only a five spot and plays great on the PS Vita.
Simple but tight controls
Difficult but fun puzzles
Generous and well-placed checkpoints
Uninspired retro graphics
Replaying difficult puzzles to backtrack isn’t fun
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4 and PS Vita.
When Jeremy isn’t writing books or playing video games, he’s living his life one random movie references at a time.