- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release Date: Sep 23, 2021
- Also On: iPhone/iPad, PC, PlayStation 4
Generally favorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings
User score distribution:
Positive: 17 out of 26
Mixed: 6 out of 26
Negative: 3 out of 26
Review this game
- User score
- By date
- Most helpful
Sep 27, 2021Actraiser Renaissance is probably the purest example of a remake completely failing to understand what made the original great and ruining the gameplay experience.
I should note that I adore the original Actraiser. It is absolutely a Top 10 SNES game for me. Quintet made some of my favorite games back in the day, including Soul Blazer. So I literally bought this without looking at theActraiser Renaissance is probably the purest example of a remake completely failing to understand what made the original great and ruining the gameplay experience.
I should note that I adore the original Actraiser. It is absolutely a Top 10 SNES game for me. Quintet made some of my favorite games back in the day, including Soul Blazer. So I literally bought this without looking at the product description, so certain it would scratch an itch I have felt for years.
Is the original Actraiser here? Yes! You can play the same platformer game which is generally as enjoyable as the original. The artwork is *significantly* worse when compared with Quintet's original sprite work, but the orchestrated music is beautiful. Unfortunately, the music ends up being the only good addition to the entire package.
You also can play the same sim game. Your little angel flies around, killing monsters who try to do the villagers harm. You tell villagers where to build and to destroy lairs. You shape the landscape to make it more livable for each town.
Yes! Actraiser is here. But it's buried under layers of new content. Somehow, Square Enix took a classic, wonderful game, and with every new addition (other than the already noted great music arrangements), they managed to make it worse.
The most obvious and annoying of these is their terrible tower defense sections. I should note that I do not love tower defense games, but slapping it into the sim-portion of a game not built for it feels very sloppy. Make no mistake: if you complete this game, you will spend more time in tower defense than you will in platforming. By the time I hit Bloodpool, every time tower defense came up, I sighed, rolled my eyes, and resigned myself to my fate.
There's also a new quest system to finish for each town. The quest system is made up of a few primary types of play. About a third to a half of them revolve around the awful tower defense. There are quests to take out the monster lairs (more on this in a few). And there are tasks that revolve around improving the towns. The quest system is bogged down in things just not working properly. For example, one quest might be to get a town to a certain population level. But when you do that, you can't turn in the quest right away. You usually have to wait for a day cycle to complete. For some quests to complete or show up, I had to leave the town completely and then come back. I mean, sure, the quests keep you on track, but there shouldn't be much to keep track of in this game: kill the bad guys, make the town big. Done.
Regarding monster lairs, you can't just kill them whenever you have access to them. You have to wait for a quest to show up to let you kill the monster lairs. And then when you do want to kill them, you have to fly down into a tiny room and kill things inside of it with platforming gameplay. This sounds cool, more gameplay!, but the rooms are poorly executed. Most are just monster closets with tons of monsters that disappear as soon as you beat the big baddie, so you just attack/magic spam the baddie until dead. They're boring.
Also in the quests, when you are trying to 100% the game, each town has two quests to go back into the main platforming levels to kill a certain number of enemies of a certain type. But here's the problem: none of the monsters you killed in your original playthrough counted, and you have to go back into each level *at least* two more times to find enough monsters to kill. Why? Why am I just redoing levels I already beat for a quest that doesn't matter? Square Enix really wanted to frustrate you to death here.
One other thing that bugs me in the changed gameplay...magic is now done by MP instead of a certain number of casts each time. Additional MP is earned by finding statues within each platforming level that, for the most part, are very simply placed. Plus, you take all your magic types into each level with you and can change them. These two changes made most late game levels absurdly easy. There's so much magic and MP to be had that you can basically spam it whenever you want throughout each level and have plenty for the bosses.
There's a new, convoluted story involving "champions" that emerge out of each city. The stories are nonsensical, and the characters are uninteresting. Instead of focusing on my villagers as a whole, now we're supposed to be focused on these elevated humans. Why is my angel wasting so much time talking to these people? Yelling at them?
There's one other new thing that I'll decline to include here since it's a bit of a spoiler, but it involves almost entirely playing a bunch of awful tower defense, so just trust me when I say it sucks.
I'm sorry, SE. I wanted to love this. I hope you do Soul Blazer, but I hope you let it keep its soul rather than whatever you thought you were doing here. Don't add, just upgrade.… Expand
Sep 30, 2021Lots of problems with this one. This is mobile quality video game at the price of $30. The art style is a mess and looks like it was made by 5 people who didn’t communicate with each other. The side scrolling action felt like a budget version of Castlevania SoTN with overly stiff controls. The level design was as about uninteresting as it gets. Meanwhile the over-world experience suffersLots of problems with this one. This is mobile quality video game at the price of $30. The art style is a mess and looks like it was made by 5 people who didn’t communicate with each other. The side scrolling action felt like a budget version of Castlevania SoTN with overly stiff controls. The level design was as about uninteresting as it gets. Meanwhile the over-world experience suffers from some significant size and zooming issues that impede the player ability to understand what the heck is going on - particularly during tower defense segments
I like the general concept and the IP. But we should expect better execution than this.… Expand
Oct 1, 2021Loved the original which I played to death but this remake just doesn't have the quality feel of that... Especially the action section which just don't have the weight & feel of the original... Pretty disappointed
Oct 8, 2021Considered one of the best Super Nintendo games by a community of fans who have made it a cult (and very expensive ...) retro game for years, Actraiser was one of those games for which we really weren't expecting a remake. With his arrival, all the wildest dreams are allowed when it comes to the Square Enix catalog. So yes, the game has mechanics that are sometimes archaic and have agedConsidered one of the best Super Nintendo games by a community of fans who have made it a cult (and very expensive ...) retro game for years, Actraiser was one of those games for which we really weren't expecting a remake. With his arrival, all the wildest dreams are allowed when it comes to the Square Enix catalog. So yes, the game has mechanics that are sometimes archaic and have aged badly, that's a fact. But on the other hand, the proposal we are given takes us completely out of our comfort zone, and Actraiser Renaissance is sometimes "fresher" and more original than some modern games. Available in a very well optimized Switch version, and at a low price, Actraiser Renaissance is one of these important titles in the heritage of video games, and I can only recommend it strongly.
Full review, in french, on my blog Nintendo Legacy. You can follow me on Twitter @NintendoLegacy1… Expand
Awards & Rankings
Dec 20, 2021The rearranged soundtrack coupled to new compositions is stunningly awesome, as Yuzo Koshiro recaptures brilliantly the spirit of the original and the gameplay of the side-scrolling sections is even better than in the original. However, the questionable choices in the art direction, the bugs, poor performance and the, at times, way too wordy expanded script, mar the experience in such a way that what should have been the masterful return of a masterpiece instead turns out to be a nice introduction to the classic for new audiences, but not much more. There's no shaking the feeling that this re-release was not treated with all the care that such an important landmark title deserved. The extra content sweetens the deal somewhat, and encourages fans of the original to come back for more, but the price of admission for such an end result is a bit too much perhaps.
Game World Navigator MagazineNov 30, 2021Nice remaster of an unusual game that successfully blends together platformer, strategy and god-sim genres. Playing as an omnipotent deity is a rare treat these days, and the great soundtrack makes it even better. [Issue#256, p.59]
Oct 27, 2021There’s nothing like Actraiser Renaissance‘s seamless genre-blending, and the surprising depth in each facet makes the game all the more timeless. The extensive main campaign is followed by newly added post-game content that keeps the surprises coming, including an additional area to develop and a score mode. The ways to approach Actraiser Renaissance are as boundless as the content it provides, making it a revival that is well worth experiencing.