For those of you who haven’t heard of this new Indie title, Wonder Boy The Dragon’s Trap was developed by Lizardcube and published by Nicalis. This visually stunning 2D platformer with a unique gameplay mechanic also made its way to the Nintendo Switch, which is how I was able to play it.
I must say, the concept of the game is incredible. If you choose the girl character at the start, the game changes to Wonder Girl The Dragon’s Trap, which I think adds another level of detail to the game. The watercolor cartoon art style reads well when playing, and that initially drew me to this game. Not only was the art beautiful, the soundtrack that came with it complements the art, which adds to the game overall.
The gameplay, however, is surprisingly different than most 2D platformers I’ve played. The core idea of the game is that it’s an anti-platformer, which is defined as taking the rules of platforming and throwing them out the window. Let me paint you a mental picture of what that looks like: You’re going down a corridor, and you continue across the screen in the direction you’ve been traveling in for quite some time. You’ve encountered different environments, fought monsters, gathered loot, the whole nine yards. Then, you walk up to a door, go through the door, and start right back at the beginning of the level. You stand there, perplexed by what had happened. The door you came through appears in a random location in the start of the level then disappears. So, you try again. You continue back down that corridor, and this time, you ignore that door. Then after some time of traveling, you encounter another door, and you think: ‘Huh, I could try this door because there’s no way both doors would lead back to the start, right?’. Nope. You’re back at the start again. At this point, you’re probably desperate and start making some crazy decisions, like I did. I got so fed up with being in this continuous loop for an hour, that in the ocean environment, I jumped off the platform into the water. Why not, right? Well, that led me to a whole new underwater part of the level. And that’s when I knew it was going to be THAT kind of game.
TDLR: This game breaks you of what you know about platforming. The way you think you’re supposed to be going is the wrong way, and the way you were taught to avoid is the right way to go. Confusing, huh? They don’t really tell you what’s going on about that, so you must figure it out. Well, given that fact that the word “trap” is literally in the title, I should have expected as much. Even though I find myself questioning my existence after playing this game, it still has me crawling back for more. The story is fantastic, and the creativity of this world they’ve created has me captivated.
Overall, I would rate this game a 4 out of 5 coffee cups. Its stunning art style, plus its innovative and challenging gameplay makes me cry tears of joy.