First Impression: Neutopia (Wii U – TurboGraphix16) ~ Is this Zelda?

Wikipedia entry

There are a lot of different Zelda clones out there. And to be honest, I don’t mind it at all. It keeps Nintendo on its toes in making the next Zelda game. If it’s not good enough, then the clones have a chance to be the next big hit. Recently, I took a look at some of them. Blossom King and Lenna’s Inception are two good examples. So, during my week off this week, I was browsing the Nintendo Wii U eShop and I discovered Neutopia. At first, I thought it was an indie developer creating another 2D Zelda clone, but I was quite surprised when I saw that the developer was Hudson Soft. So, I dug a bit deeper, and it turns out that this game was never released in Europe until the Wii and Wii U era. So, why didn’t we get this game, and its sequel over here in Europe? Was the Zelda clone not good enough, or did we miss out? Let’s find out, while I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your thoughts and/or opinions on the content of this article and/or this game.

Is this Zelda?

I find the story in this game quite amusing. It’s, to a certain degree, a cross between your cliché Zelda and Final Fantasy story. Change the Triforce with crystals. Sprinkle some Zelda II with a sleeping princess in a shrine, that instead of getting cursed… gets kidnapped Link to the Past style. Oh, and let’s not forget that the crystals are elemental crystals. The story is silly but oh so amusing to me. The story isn’t the main focal point in this game. Besides the main character, the villain, and the princess… There aren’t many unique characters in the game. Which isn’t a bad thing. The name of the villain is hilarious, actually. He is called Dirth, yes… dirt with an additional H.

In terms of gameplay, this game is everything I could hope for. This game is Zelda I at its heart, and I love it. It didn’t take long for me to get immersed in the game and start exploring the world. All the mechanics were clear to me right away. I had to explore the lands, find the dungeons and find all the medallions. I started out with a sword and started exploring. The controls are extremely easy to learn as well, so in no time I was in the action.

Something that took me by surprise is that there are only 4 dungeons. But, there are two medallions in each dungeon. So, you’ll have to explore them quite thoroughly to make sure you found everything. Speaking of exploring, I was afraid that I would have to look for ages for the various dungeons since the game also copied the “map” system from Zelda I. Thankfully, you have a Charmed Compass that points you into the general direction of the dungeons.

There are no keys in this game, so no locked door puzzles. Yet, the map system has a unique feature. It plays a special sound effect whenever you are near a boss or a medallion. This brings me nicely to the audiovisual presentation of this game. The music in this game, oh heavens. The music in this game is excellent! This chiptune soundtrack fits the game so well and is one of the best things in this game. It made the exploration and trying to beat the various challenges the game gives you even more fun. The sound effects are decent too, if only I wished there were a bit more of them to make the enemies and weapons come more alive.

Is this game hard? Well, if you know how to play Zelda I, it’s not hard at all. You have to know that you can burn bushes, push rocks, and that villagers are hidden all over the world that gives you VERY helpful advice. For real, read what the villagers have to say. The only nitpick I have is that when you accidentally press the skip button, you’ll have to exit and re-enter their location to know what they said.

This game is also somewhat forgiving. When you die, you go to the latest checkpoint you saved at. So, whenever you did something big or before a dungeon, remember to save. This isn’t your modern game with autosaves. The save system is unique, when save you get a very long password and the chance to save in a slot. But do yourself a favor, and only use that save feature to create checkpoints so when you die, you don’t lose too much progress and use the actual save states of the virtual console to save. I found that much more reliable than the load system. Especially since the save slots are RAM-based! Any RAM memory can be overwritten. The only thing you lose is a bit of gold.

The items that enemies can drop are the exact same as in the first Zelda game. Apart from having different sprites. From gold, bomb to even a time-stopping power up. And if you listen well to the villagers, you’ll know what each item does, since they hint at them pretty well.

Visually, this game looks amazing. The only thing I found a shame is that there were no real towns or anything in the game. But that’s a minor nitpick since, evener then, the map is quite memorable and great fun to explore. Of course, you have your typical locals from a forest, mountains, and desert, but they all fit the world so well. Strangely enough, there is no ice/cold area in this game. That’s something you don’t see every game every day. But, we don’t see perfect games every day either. Yet, is this game one of those?

This isn’t as good as Zelda.

Sadly enough, no. This game has some flaws. The first is the bombs. The big issue is that you need way too many of them to beat the game, and you can only carry 8 of them at the start. There is also no easy way to farm them, so when you require more… It’s enemy killing time, and cross your fingers they drop bombs. And bombs are one of the few items that stack. When the wings drop, to easily escape to the last save point, you can only have one. Even when you picked up two. … Okay, you can carry two health points.

There is something I feel a bit mixed about, and that is some villagers. Some villagers give you special rewards like money. But only once. That alone is just fine. But, here is the annoying thing. If you die and go back to that spot, you can’t get the money again. Yet, when I think about this… It makes a bit sense too. Since, if the reward of the villager is higher than what you lose when you die… It would be money exploit waiting to happen. If only you could decline the money before you get it, that would have been amazing.

Now, that it was difficult to create a good map system on an 8-bit system for Zelda I, I can totally understand. You only have so much RAM and resources to play with before the system starts to lag. But, on a system that’s at least twice as powerful, the map system can do more. The map system is a huge mess in my eyes.

First, there is no overworld map, so you don’t know where you are in the overworld. Something that the first Zelda game actually did! Second, after getting the dungeon map, it resets the visited rooms when you leave the dungeon by any means. And third, it only shows you the rooms for the first medallion. Which in itself isn’t a big issue, but it’s a big issue since when you die exploring the second part of the dungeon, guess what… The map is reset and the new rooms are gone! Oh, and I hope you remembered where to bomb to continue.

Sadly, this game has the same annoyance as the first Zelda game when it comes to hitboxes. During my playthrough, I felt that sometimes it was easier for the enemies to hit me compared to hitting them. The fact you can’t hit enemies diagonally is a huge issue. Since, when you aren’t lined up right… You don’t hit the enemy, but they hit you. Well, you can hit enemies diagonally but not with the sword. Just increasing the hitboxes of the enemies by a tiny bit would have solved this issue.

Something minor about this is that some airborne enemies were tricky to know when you were able to hit and not hit them. Speaking of iffy enemy design, I found some enemies a bit too cheap. Those mud crawlers are so annoying in predicting where they will turn up.

Now, I think I said almost everything I wanted to say about this game. I honestly think it’s time to wrap this up in a nice conclusion.

Is this worth your time?

For this conclusion, I won’t beat around the bush. If you enjoy any 2D adventure game like let’s say: Zelda I, Blossom Tales, Lenna’s Inception, Fairune… This game is right up your alley. This amazing retro title is an excellent time waster. It does have some flaws, but when you get used to the flaws, this game is stunning. Currently, I’m halfway done with the game, but I couldn’t wait in finishing the game before I started writing this review.

This game brought me back to the joy of 2D Zelda games. Which is one of my favorite types of games. Just keep in mind that this game is a retro game and the things I talked about in my review, and you are golden. I’m playing this game blind and not using a walkthrough at all. It’s a blast, and can’t wait to see what the game is going to throw at me next. And let’s not forget the sequel! Which improvements were made and is it going to be as much fun as this one?

Now, if you decide to play this game… I personally would advise you to play this game on the Virtual Console or PSN. If you want to play it on the TurboGraphix 16, be careful with saving in the cabinets/save files. Do write down your passwords. Since saving to RAM… I don’t trust it personally. And sadly enough, the passwords are long and complex. It’s case-sensitive even.

I highly enjoyed my time with this game, and I can’t recommend it enough to fellow 2D adventure game fans and retro game fans. But, I can totally understand that because of its age and quirks, this game might not be so enjoyable for everybody. But, give it a chance, I really think it is worth it.

And with that said, I want to thank you all for reading this article, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you to another one, but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

Those annoying mud things :/

NekoJonez wins awards – Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine-blogger-award.jpg

Today on 2nd April 2018, World Autism Day, I want to present the newest award I got for my blog. It’s another community award, the Sunshine Blogger Award. I received this award from Aivanther over at TheDialyRager. Thank you so much for this! I’m flattered by the fact that I got another community award on top of all the flattering words that are being said about me. Like in this article by Sheikah Plate about “To Thine Own Self Be True.“. In any case, I think we should focus on the award too. So, it’s answering and asking questions time. 

The Rules of the award

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 10 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 10 new blogs to receive the award and write them 10 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Questions to answer

What is your name?

NekoJonez, that’s the easy answer. If you want my real name, it’s Pieterjan. But, if you can’t pronounce it, I prefer that you say “Jonez” to me.

The “n” is said like the “n” in pencil. It isn’t said like the “m” in mother. That’s one of the biggest mistakes. Also, the “a” is long. The “a” is spoken like in Halo. Longer A.

What is your quest?

My personal quest is to enjoy life as much as I can. To be amazed and to experience everything I want to experience. But mostly it’s to entertain and support people I care about.

My quest on my blog is to educate and tell my story in the vast world of video games. A story about a casual retro game collector who enjoys playing casual games and games forgotten by the masses. Also, it’s to have fun with my blogging friends from over the world.

What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?

As fast as its body is allowing it to go!

Dysentery or Cholera?

For real? Talking about “pick your poison.” But, thanks to modern medicine, I don’t care that much since it can both be cured.

Why do you blog?

I don’t know where I told this story before, but let me start from the beginning. I’m part of a pretty small direct family. My parents, 2 uncles, 4 aunts, 2 cousins, my grandparents from my mother’s side and my sister. Oh, and my pet cat Sparta.

But since most of us work in education or in the social sector, our network of family friends is huge. Also, if you go look into my actual family, I have family living in the Netherlands.

So, at family parties, I have to explain the same question all over again. What I was up to and things like that. I was so tired of that question 8 years ago, I started to blog about my life in Dutch and share it with friends and family. Here and there I wrote gaming articles and they actually took off.

Due to certain circumstances, I decided to delete my Dutch blog and take 6 months off blogging. This all happened in 2013. Yet, in May of 2013; I started to really miss being able to write about games. Since it’s my passion after all.

So, in May of 2013, I published my first English review of Tomb Raider. Now, I started my 5th year on this blog but in reality, I have been writing blogs for 8 years. Nowadays, I mostly write about video games because I know most of that subject and I just enjoy writing about it.

It’s a great way to share experiences and stories. It’s an amazing way to talk about the games I played and to keep a sort of public diary about the games I have played and when.

What game made you wish you had brain bleach?

In terms of a good game, A Hat In Time. I wish I could experience that game all over again without any memories about it.

In terms of bad games, well, the games on this list say enough. In that article, I talk about the 10 worst games I have played since then.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

That’s a trick question! In which game do you mean? I think you can find her in a bedroom with Waldo.

Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle?

Well, for some reason I nearly always go with the grass types in Pokémon starters. Sometimes with the fire one and very rarely with the water one. And one random NPC dialogue from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl keeps sticking in my head.

In there, they say the people who choose grass Pokémon are calm and laid back people. I honestly think that I’m that kind of person.

Worst game you have actually completed?

I rarely complete games. I even have trouble beating games, to be honest. My collection spans over 2,000 titles and I keep expanding it. Each free moment of my time, I try to get a game or two closer to the beaten or completion status.

So, if I have to talk about the worst game I have actually beaten; I think I have to refer to the brain bleach question. I have beaten on some of the games on that list…

What’s your guilty pleasure game?

I don’t feel guilty at all playing games. There are some games not meant for my demographic, sure. Okay, there are some games in my collection I got from my sister like some Barbie, Winx Club, and other “girl” games.

But, I honestly enjoyed some of them. Heck, I have reviewed one of the games back in 2014; Barbie Secret Agent for the GBA. As long as a game is fun to play, why would it matter if I’m the target demographic or not?

Look, there isn’t a game I feel guilty playing. If a game interests me, I play it. If you limit yourself in “oh this game is about some girl/boy show and I’m of the opposite gender so it’s going to be boring…” – thoughts, you are missing out! As a boy, I have played games that I enjoyed quite a lot which are meant for girls. And I can say with 100% certainty, that my sister can say the same things about the games where the player base is more male. Like she enjoys playing Age of Empires.

I adore when I can play a game in a genre or style I haven’t experienced a lot since that way I get introduced to a new style of games and more types of games to look out for to add to my collection. 🙂

My ten winners

  1. Sheikah Plate – I really need to try one of your recipes!
  2. Triform Trinity – My dude, my man! You deserve this one.
  3. Games With Coffee  – I drink mine with milk and sometimes sugar!
  4. Aluna – We should do another stream one day, brother!
  5. Reaper Interactive –  Love your stuff mate!
  6. Power Bomb Attack – I want to be on the podcast as a guest one day? May I?
  7. AdventureRules – When will be the 2018 Blogger Blitz event?
  8. LightingEllen – Let’s snow punch those blogging thieves together!
  9. Falcon Game Reviews – I wish I had more time to read your awesome stuff
  10. Anjim Plays & KillerRobotics – For your continued support my man.

Okay, I kinda cheated and put 11 on my list. In addition to that, I took 10 other people I really enjoy that weren’t on the list from Aivanther. A few of good blogging friends are on there!

So, now you need my ten questions I guess. Here we go:

  1. Explain as poorly as you can how either Minecraft or Pokémon works.
  2. Explain a game cryptically and let your readers guess which game or game series it is.
  3. Do you sell games you have completed/beaten or do you keep them in a collection?
  4. Which game/genre does interest you quite a lot but you are unable to get into the actual game/genre?
  5. Do you think it’s possible that there will be every an amazing video game movie?
  6. Would you ever consider blogging full time as a job?
  7. I haven’t gotten a Switch yet! Quickly, recommend me a game.
  8. If you had to choose between Sony, PC or Nintendo platforms and emulation DIDN’T exist, which platform would you choose and why?
  9. What is the platform you grew up on and tell us some fond memories?
  10. Tell here a random story you want to share with your readers.

Anyways, that’s everything for today! Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks again to Aivanther to give me this award! It means a lot to me to get my work recognized. I hope that the upcoming articles are going to entertain everybody! I hope to be able to welcome you in another blog but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

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