Classic gameplay; remixed music still has the same heart; original series voice actors; beautiful graphics
Gameplay can be a bit punishing for new gamers
Sometimes it’s hard to know what will stand the test of time. To be honest, a good portion of my life was spent forgetting DuckTales. Sure, I owned it on the NES as a kid, but I also enjoyed the Super Mario Bros. movie, back then. I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a discerning kid. Once I reached my late teens and I had (slightly) better taste in things, I discovered that all these different pop punk bands were covering the Moon theme. It started to make me wonder if maybe that DuckTales game I loved as a kid was worth a second look. By the time DuckTales: Remastered was announced, I knew I had to pack my bags for a return trip to Duckburg to find out if the old classic still holds up.
When you turn on DuckTales: Remastered, the first thing you’ll notice is that this title is focused on appealing not only to fans of the original game, but fans of the cartoon, as well. The result is a very interesting amalgam. The title screen uses the old chiptune version of the DuckTales theme, but then, seconds later, you’re hearing voice actors from the cartoon and seeing graphics that are not only modern, they’re absolutely gorgeous. The whole world has been given a fresh coat of paint, but everything else seems faithfully restored. The blend is intended to really sell this title to both the hardcore fans, and the new and curious.
At its core, DuckTales: Remastered is the original game, through and through. You’re still Scrooge McDuck, and you’re still making crazy jumps, and hitting giant rats in the head with a cane used like a pogo stick. The music is updated, but only in the slightest ways. If you heard the updated version of Aquatic Ambiance in Donkey Kong Country Returns, you’ll know what to expect. Everything might look and sound modern, but this is still the same classic platformer that came out in 1989. And this is both a very good thing and a very frustrating thing.
The reason that this is frustrating is because Capcom and Disney have gone to great lengths to sell this to new audiences. But those newer fans might have a hard time appreciating this game. While old-school purists will love DuckTales: Remastered, the learning curve may turn off newer fans, especially with the game’s $15 eShop pricetag.
Even though the original title was targeted at younger audiences, it’s easy to forget just how punishing a lot of early NES titles could be, and DuckTales is no exception. While 2D platforming has made a huge resurgence over the last few years with titles like New Super Mario Bros., these newer platformers aren’t nearly as unforgiving as their predecessors. Gamers will die a lot playing DuckTales: Remastered. And, with a very limited number of extra lives, they’ll probably have to restart each level from scratch a few times, as well. I would know. I lost count of how many times I died pretty quickly. While your progress will be saved after completing a level, there aren’t any mid-level checkpoints to hold your hand. This is old-school game design, and it shows. Gamers aren’t nearly as patient as they were over 20 years ago, and I could easily see some players tossing the GamePad to the side in frustration.
If you were a fan of the NES original, DuckTales: Remastered is the definition of a must-own title. The game faithfully recreates the NES original while sprucing up the visuals, modernizing the music quality and even adding a couple new levels. It’s the type of HD remake I’d love to see for other classics like Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers or any of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade games. But if you’ve never been to Duckburg, you might want to try this one out before you part with your pennies. After all, isn’t that what Scrooge McDuck would do?
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.