Battletoads 2020 is a game that should have stayed in the past… Sorry, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I really can’t make it sound like this is a good game.
It’s a harsh claim, I know. But give me a chance to let you know why: All the flash, stellar animation, and jokes can’t hide shallow gameplay.
Experience the downfall in real-time as you watch a meh game slowly but surely get worse as the seconds go on.
Breaking Down the Battletoads Gameplay
Take a look at the statistics below for a quick breakdown of what I encountered in my Let’s Play of Battletoads 2020.
- 4 Porkshank Beatdowns
- 4 Flies Eaten
- 18 Flies Missed
- Infinite HoverBike Hatred
- Our Heroes the Battletoads (0:00)
- The Daily Life of a Battletoads (13:34)
- Hoverbike Mayhem (18:07)
- Final Thoughts on Battletoads (23:35)
Grab your hoverbike and join me on this ride into madness.
Our Heroes: The Battletoads
Right out the gate, we jump into some combat. While an exciting way to start, the mechanics don’t live up to that experience because it is essentially just button mashing to pull off cool moves.
The moves are quirky. No complaints there. Their stylized choice is humorous as their range features pulling out arcade cabinets to uppercutting with a chicken. These goofy stylized choices are memorable and engage the player through its humorous tones.
Like most fighting games, enemies perform, guards that need to be broken to land any damage. Another mechanic that goes hand-in-hand here is dodge warnings. The game offers some assistance here, providing cues in the form of exclamation marks that give you a heads up on dodging enemy moves.
Health is… frustrating. The Battletoads recover health through eating flies. A fun play on their biology but holy cow is it a nightmare to eat them. To do so, you have to be 100% lined up with them. Literally pixel to pixel to catch them. One would expect it to be easy since it’s a platformer but… think again. You just button mash and pray that one lands before a big pig knock you out.
After getting a feel for the controls, the game drops PorkShank right onto your plate and flail your way to victory.
The game can’t even be bothered for a solid battle because Porkshank runs away before his health bar is entirely drained. Bing, bang, boo- oh, what? He’s already gone? We move on, I guess?
After that half battle, we come to a solid gold room with a few more bad guys. Combat ensues, wonky controls are dealt with, and characters ask a bunch of questions, presumably to build up some plot before we can progress.
We get handed another plate of PorkShank. And it’s like, okay… 10 minutes into the game and we’re already reusing bosses? Now, I know other games do this. One that comes to mind is Kirby: Squeak Squad. I’m sure you can think of others too. The main difference is that there is more substance between these recurring battles. There are levels to go through, chests to find, maybe a few mini-games. Battletoads just has a different goofy background and the same button spamming.
But alas, we battle. He’s easily dispatched and brings one new move to the table. We punch him a whole bunch and move on.
Or do we?
Depends on who you ask. We just get another piece of pork but this time he’s purple.
So we get a copy-pig with a color swap, showing just how lazy this game is.
Each PorkShank uses the moves we encountered earlier and all you have to do is just hammer away until you win. Nothing new.
After the victory, we learn that the Battletoads are pretty much narcissists and can’t believe they no longer hold hero-status.
Time to get a job.
The Daily Life of a Battletoad
So this is where the game takes a weird--and I’ll admit an interesting turn--as the first level is all about combat while the next two are not.
Considering we have three different gameplay styles within minutes of each other it can be rather confusing.
After 4000 job interviews, our heroes finally manage to land some jobs. Pimple is a masseuse, Zitz works a mundane 9-5, and Rash signs autographs for Sea of Thieves (Which is honestly pretty funny).
We have some quick minigames of hitting buttons and then we’re onward to some good animation.
We quickly learn that the crux of the game is that Battletoads is going after the Dark Queen.
Let’s hop on some hoverbikes and continue the adventure.
So now the game immediately throws you into the infamous hoverbike section. It takes guts to have level 3 be the part that everyone remembers from the original Battletoads. The thing that immediately becomes apparent is just how bare-bones just you driving forward in an attempt to dodge pitfalls and various walls in your way.
There’s nothing special here other than it goes on for way too long. So long that my editor had to cut out multiple minutes in my Let’s Play. With all the deaths, the length of the level, and lackluster scenery to keep it interesting, it feels never-ending.
I somehow made it through, overcoming many deaths and the monotony of it all.
Even after multiple styles of gameplay I just didn’t feel any attraction to keep playing. I decided to call this episode quits.
Is Battletoads Amazing?
Battletoads is a game that tries too hard and then falls on its face. I can’t say it any simpler but here is my breakdown:
- The combat doesn’t bring enough to the table, only poor mechanics and overdone enemies.
- Levels go on for too long with little exciting substance.
- The jokes are just a hit and miss.
- Though, I do have some compliments for this comeback game:
- The Saturday Cartoon Vibe is charming and gives older players a nice taste of the good ‘ol days.
- Great animation that is exciting to the eyes.
- Solid voice acting.
- But the script doesn’t do it any justice and everything around the edges add up to bring down the entire experience.
I went into this game hoping for a Battletoads renaissance and came out just wishing it had never happened in the first place. This is a shame because so many would be interested in a Battletoads sequel, but what we were given just comes across as a letdown.