Kudzu Logo
Kudzu Icon

Developer: Pie for Breakfast Studios

Publisher: 8 Bit Legit

  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Apr 5, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E [Everyone]
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    For retro fans who enjoyed portable RPGs in the Gameboy era, Kudzu successfully captures that spirit and vibe

    One of the fascinating trends in this generation is seeing not just retro-inspired games coming to the market but also, thanks to Kickstarter, games being outright made to run on retro hardware that can then be ported to current-gen systems. That’s precisely what has happened with Kudzu, an adventure somewhat in the mold of classic Zelda titles made to run on the classic Gameboy hardware (which you can physically buy as a cartridge while supplies last) but that absolutely shouldn’t be discounted for its simplicity by any means. On the contrary, despite being made to work within the limitations of that very restrictive system, this is a completely legitimate gameplay experience that can reasonably go the distance with some of the Gameboy’s best titles.

    Right out of the gate I’ll admit that this is a game that took me by surprise. Having owned a Gameboy back in the day, while I definitely appreciated the games it allowed me to play on the go, there was no doubt that it was a system with limitations. From the classic pea soup green color palette, to the memory restrictions, to there being obvious limits to what the hardware could handle, making great games on the platform was a challenge, and taking all of that on now is obviously a daring choice and test of your talents. The thing is, more than I would have expected, I really feel like the people behind this have pulled that off quite well.

    You’ll play the game as Max, a simple apprentice gardener who sets out on a journey to find his missing mentor Zoen, which will pit him against a variety of critters and other obstacles that will stand in his way. You’ll need to get help from a variety of odd characters, slowly upgrade your equipment, solve a variety of puzzles, and even take on an impressive number of bosses in order to see your journey through. Keeping in mind the limited number of buttons, screen real estate, and processing power of the classic Gameboy this is obviously a game with limitations, but for the most part I’d say you don’t feel them very painfully either. 

    Some of the interfaces are more cumbersome since you’ll need to go to a pause screen to accomplish even simple tasks like healing, the on-screen indicator for health is only seen when you get hit (and then only briefly) so that is tougher to keep on top of than it could be, and the action is obviously not going to set the world on fire, remaining pretty simple. Still, again relating back to the games I remember playing on the platform back in the day, it still feels like quite an accomplishment. I’d say that for people who owned a Gameboy and have nostalgia for the system, or simply for people who love genuine retro experiences it’s an easy thumbs up. That said, if your sensibilities are decidedly more modern it may be a bit too primitive to keep your interest for long.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Nindie Choice! [8.2]

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