Have you ever looked for something to watch on a streaming service and ended up going on an interminable journey into the unknown? You know what I mean – you’re looking for something to watch but you don’t know what, so you endlessly scroll through hundreds of films to find that ‘something’. During your endless travels you’ll find weird knock-offs that take the concepts of a popular movie (like the Transformers prequel Bumblebee) and turn it into their own thing (like changing the yellow car and renaming it Hornet).
That’s Venture Kid – an action platformer that is pretty much Mega Man in everything but name.
Two thoughts crossed my mind as I played it: namely, that I’d rather be playing a Mega Man game, but at the same time I was deriving some forgettable fun. Going through the motions doesn’t always have to be a slog.
In Venture Kid you play a boy with a blaster named Andy, off to stop a maniacal scientist who’s hell bent on controlling the world… or something. You then travel across a myriad of your favorite 8-bit stages, such as the mine level (replete with cart!), the castle level and the lava level. After a battle with a thematically appropriate boss you gain a new ability that will help you out down the road. Stop me if you’ve heard all this before.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, than Venture Kid is an unapologetic and unabashed love letter, maybe written by a stalker.
I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but much like other ‘inspired by’ games, Venture Kid misses the mark in capturing whatever magic makes me love Mega Man games so much. The controls are a little looser, but all-in-all, Andy controls well. The game on a whole feels nostalgic and is a joy to look at, but the designs are also a bit uninspired. The bosses are a curious lot and entertaining, but their patterns are easy to recognize, and I used the default blaster just as much as I used the rest of Andy’s gear. Hell, it even has those screen transitions where the protagonist sort of pauses as the screen slides to the next area. It ticks off all the boxes, but still lacks that… something.
I feel like I’m bagging on Venture Kid, but I’m only hyper critical because these types of games are my jam. I had fun for the few hours it took me to play through its two main modes (one a straight level by level tromp, the other letting you pick your stage a la Mega Man), and was even charmed by its presentation (having mysterious music play when you find a hidden area is a trope that isn’t used enough). But I also don’t see myself going back to anytime soon. Venture Kid is a serviceable adventure that’ll scratch that action platforming itch, but it won’t satisfy it in the long term.
Venture Kid was developed by FDG Entertainment and is available on Steam, Switch and iOS. We reviewed the Switch version.
Disclosure statement: Review code for Venture Kid was provided by FDG Entertainment. A Most Agreeable Pastime operates as an independent site, and all opinions expressed are those of the author.