by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
The Fighting Robot, Mega- Wait, What?
Terrian Saga: KR-17 has clear cut roots centered around the glory days of side scrolling action adventure. It’s easy to compare it to the likes of several old games, including of course Mega Man. This is made even more apparent by the fact that the entire cast consists of robots, the entire enemy lineup is made of robots and the environments have heavily mechanized feels to them.
That being said, Terrian Saga: KR-17 doesn’t feel like a clone in the slightest. With quirky encounters mixed with fast paced action, it successfully strikes out and sets itself apart from the pack in modern day side scrollers by not only giving a great callback to the early days of gaming, but dare I say mastering it? Not quite, but closer than any other game I can recall.
As you start a new game, the intro rolls and gives a brief insight to the backstory of what sets in motion the chain of events prior to the beginning of the game. The story itself is one we have heard all before in some shape or form: intergalactic war, pawns sent off to die for an unseen master, one pawn tends to think for himself. That pawn, is KR-17 a defense droid with a myriad of abilities, and a design that would threaten no one visually. Imagine a mechanized ball on tank treads with a cannon arm and that is essentially what he is. Accompanied by J1M, a sentient missile (who thankfully can repeatedly come back from the dead despite being shot at by numerous enemies and explosive boxes), these two set off on a mission to stop the enemy at all costs!
No really, that’s essentially where the story begins and ends. But that’s okay, because being a throwback to the classic platformers of yesteryear, the story is the least important aspect of the game. After a very brief tutorial level, you are thrown immediately into the fast paced action of platforming levels across a variety of landscapes.
The Places You will Go, The Things You will See
With over 65 stages across 8 regions, you are going to have your hands full. While some stages are simple and straight forward, others will have complicated jumping puzzles that can vary from fun, to frustrating. Along the way your goals remain simple, just survive and make it to the end of each stage. However, most stages require you to press several buttons located throughout the area which both helps to lengthen the experience with more puzzles and action, but can also give a heavy dose of tedium. Though the moments of tedium are far between, when it happens it hits hard and I found myself going to the nearest save point and taking a break for a little bit so that I could rest my eyes, and calm myself after dying several times trying to reach just that one last button hidden behind everything and anything designed to be a one-hit-kill.
While the stages themselves are of course just different variants of platforming layouts, the backdrops help set the scene for each of the 8 regions. Each region has a very distinct feel, from cityscapes to forests, from robotics labs, to desolate wastes there is a lot to please the eye. Of course another thing to praise is the enemy variety, as there is no lack of it. As you progress further, you will find yourself seeing less and less of the crab-bots (as I like to call them) from the beginning of the game and taking on more sinister foes. That isn’t even including the eight boss fights, which range from simplistic laser-spam to frantically jumping around and away constantly to avoid being struck.
The levels, the enemies, the bosses, they all blend together in such a way that unless I was stuck on something I just couldn’t put the game down. I had to keep playing, and had to keep playing. KR-17 is one of the more addicting platformers I have played in recent years.
To hold all of this together, to help push the levels along, is one of the most catchy soundtracks ever. KR-17’s soundtrack has the most addicting hum-worthy and whistle-inspiring tunes since the SNES. The soundtrack was so good that I actually picked up the OST which is something I rarely do for games (I should also mention that it’s currently free until July 16th).
What Are We Fighting For?
While the story is lacking, everything else in this game tries to put itself in the spotlight often. Other than an occasional bout of tedium, I have no complaints with this game other than to say that 65 levels just isn’t enough to sate my appetite! The 2014 summer has been churning out some great titles, and Terrian Saga: KR-17 more than earns a spot among them. Not only that, but with a price tag of only $4.99 I’ve perhaps gotten more gameplay out of it than several titles that have cost much more.
Terrian Saga: KR-17 is simply a must play for anyone looking for a new platformer, or anyone looking to recapture the days of old. Fast paced fun, catchy music, thrilling and mostly challenging boss battles, if the story was a little less generic it would be the perfect throwback. However, it still gets pretty close to the mark.
65 levels of action, several enemy variants, 8 great boss fights, platforming done amazing, catchy soundtrack.
Story leaves something to be desired, the game is eventually over.