Game Review #186: Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Frankie W
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Grasshopper Manufacture
Category: Action, Multiplayer
Release Date: 01.18.2019
Price (at time of review): $29.99 (Digitally) | $39.99 (Physically)
Buy Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes from the Nintendo eShop here.
Buy Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (physical) from Amazon here.
Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is the third entry in the No More Heroes series, but it is not No More Heroes 3. It feels like a nice little side game to tide us over while we wait for our #1 assassin to return to the main stage in a big way, but this doesn’t take away from the experience Travis Strikes Again provides. It is a unique and quirky romp filled with breaking the 4th wall with self-aware jokes and writing, references to popular indie titles (many of which we have reviewed here on JP’S SWITCHMANIA!), and the series’ previous entries all wrapped up in a whole new gameplay style built on the pure love of video games!
Join the titular Travis Touchdown (I love a good alliteration, so sue me) as well as Badman - the father of a high ranking assassin Travis previously killed in a glorious shower of blood - as they enter a prototype video game world to get a wish granted. Yes I’m serious. This game will have you playing different games in order to progress, wrapping its core gameplay formula up in various different fashions to represent different games, and it does it well! Let's get into it all a bit more, and see what sets this apart from other entries in the series!
Let's start with gameplay! Travis is an anime loving, wrestling obsessed killer assassin who is ranked #1 in the world, climbing his way over bodies soaked in blood with his beam katana. He also happens to be a cat lover, but at this point he's done with it. Living his life out in a trailer in Texas (Instead of his native Santa Destroy) and 37 years old, Travis is just trying to get away from the craziness that has taken over his life for the past decade. He's just been playing video games to pass the time, until Badman shows up, of course, and the two of them are sucked into the Death Drive MkII, where the game begins.
Your core gameplay is a top down-ish, almost Diablo style game where you will employ light attacks, heavy attacks, and dodge rolls mainly, as well as having your charge attack which is some pretty flashy stuff; just what you expect from the series! It also levels up your charge meter which will make you stronger, and has your charge attack replenish more easily. And of course you can jump, and using some jumping attacks will especially help you in some of the more horizontally oriented levels!
You will also find skill chips in your adventure through these games, which much to my delight are ALL named after Gundams! As someone who builds Gunpla and loves the series, it was a welcome surprise for me. You can set up to 4 of these skills chips, and when you use them they will enter into a cool down phase. The effects of these are widely varying; you have thunder to strike multiple enemies, moves that allow you to grab an enemy from range and throw them at other enemies, healing shields, slowing auras… the list goes on and on!
Finding your favorite ones, and finding which ones synergize well will serve you well. I always found myself going the extra mile to explore the environment in order to make sure I got all of the skill chips. You will employ these fighting styles at first in what each style draws its inspiration from, but as you play other “games” you will see they use this in SO many contexts its crazy! It has big puzzle solving levels, a level that is almost a survival horror joke, there's an MMO, and more! It wouldn’t do you justice to tell you everything this game has in store for you, so you'll have to check it out yourself!
Choco Banana with Caramel Ice Cream
The visuals are distinct and crisp, but there's nothing pushing the Switch to its limits here. That's OK because in the end, 90% of this game takes place inside an old video game console, so it's a stylized choice in most cases. Personally, I really loved the mode you have to play to find more games for the console; the aptly named Death Balls. It harkened back to OLD PC adventure games and features a ton of text. This game doesn’t have voice acting for cutscenes or anything, but the adventure mode is chock full of great text to read over. I wouldn’t say it held it back, but sometimes I longed for being able to sit back and watch a scene play out.
The music does its job, with a couple songs that are on the repetitive side, but there was nothing offensive to the ears. Between that, and the feeling that a few of the “games” drag a little at the end are the only bad things I can say. The sound effects are crisp; I’ll never get tired of the sound of the beam katana swinging in the air, or the sound of Travis powering up his katana when the batteries die from beating down too many baddies with it. Lots of old school video game sounds mixed in with exploding enemies is a great thing to hit your ears.
The boss fights tend to be the stars, featuring awesome, distinct characters with unique fights that will test your skills and have you finishing them off with a classic Travis Touchdown Wrestling move that always just feels good, especially if you use the movement option! Don’t forget you can team up with a friend for some good ole-fashioned couch co-op as well where they can take control of Badman. It even features a special attack if you both pull off your charge attacks at the same time.
All in all, this game certainly lives up to what we have come to expect from Suda 51 and his team, and that is not a bad thing at all! It’s different enough that it’s an awesome little hold over for the big number 3 for No More Heroes, but it still sated my urge for a self-aware, hilarious, ultra-violent Nintendo title. God does it feel good typing that! This game drops enough references and hints to the next title (And Shadow of the Damned 2, please be real!) to tide you over for the next major No More Heroes game, and man I cannot WAIT for some more of that to come into the light. This game is an homage to gaming through the ages, and the two entries before it. Grab a friend and co-op this game. You will not regret it!
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*Review Code Provided by Little Big PR