I really do enjoy the exploration parts in Metroidvanias – Finding hidden power-ups and gradually growing your character stronger and stronger, all in all for the sake of a final confrontation with a certain powerful entity… it’s a unique feeling that lead to the birth of many titles and various additional concepts over the years. It’s all fun and laughs until the ending screen, where the rabbit-girl puts on a space suit and goes off-screen for her morning jog, followed by your total time of seven play hours along with a 98% completion rate message. Calling to the Sega of Ubisoft, you learn that there was an item that you missed, which can only be acquired by avoiding Dr. Willy’s burger junkyard. A moment later you also realize that the phone you are using is just a can of diet coke, which of course just adds to your crumbling desire to go through the same game over again. NO THANK YOU!!!
Poacher is a Metroidvania by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, which follows the adventures of an Yorkshire countryman named Derek Badger and a ghost lady named Rebecca on their quest to bring peace to an underground kingdom consisting of ghost people, dark ones and pelicans. The plot is quite easy to follow and is fairy solid, which is a good addition to the usual “Lonely exploration nation”. “Poacher” is quite similar to “Cave Story”, only easier and a bit more dull around the edges when it comes to the platforming, puzzle solving and boss fights. Though regarding that matter, maybe we should exclude the secret boss in the game, who can pose quite the challenge. We are talking about a learning curve of 20 to 40 minutes – even more, depending on skill and experience.
In all honesty, while “Poacher” could have offered a bit more in many aspects, the length and the learning curve of the game are a good examples of how to set a good replay value. I’ve played through the game in total of three times, all in all to get all the achievements, which add quite a spice to the gameplay. I had fun on each run, especially on the last one where I figured out how to access the secret boss. I guess the main reason why I enjoyed the game was due to the fact that it manages to properly reward you for your efforts, while eliminating classic annoying bits that we find in many other games from the same genre. You get a map [And at some point additional marks on it that point out where various items/ \special places\ are located], you get check points at proper places – not too many close to or far away each other… You even get a GOOD hint at how to access the secret hard- ass boss!
You also collect money from slain enemies, which you can use to buy items from a shopkeeper, once you’ve unlocked him. For mere 350 coins, you can buy a self- healing power- up and destroy pretty much 80% of the overall difficulty in the game. HAPPY HUNTING!!!
I love the special skin for Derek that you can unlock once you do a 100$ completion rate. Shoot a baddie, Pound comes out flying instead of cartridge. NEAT!
I wasn’t really impressed by the moves that you acquire that’s vital to your progress, like wall- jumping, diving, etc . Classy, but a bit boring. Also, getting out of water could be really annoying, depending on location. *cough* screen transition *cough*
In the end, it’s all thanks to pudding and weird dialect to rack up some extra point for my final decision to give “Poacher” a 6.7 out of 10! NOW LET’S ALL GET DOWN TO THE PUB, HELL YEAH DRUNK GIRL GHOSTS!