If you ask adult gamers if they know Alex Kidd they will probably tell you they played a lot of them back in the day. The late eighties and early nineties were filled with his games. While there was a handful to play, I only ever tried Alex Kidd in Miracle World and I have some fond memories of it. Specifically, never finishing the damn game. It was tough. So tough that it could rival a lot of challenging platformers today. This was mainly due to the game’s lack of save function meaning you had to complete the game in one run. Thankfully, in the age of remakes, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX has arrived to enable the gamers of today the opportunity to enjoy the game.
For the most part, the original game made very little sense in the grand spectrum of things. Alex ran around this world playing ching-chong-cha (that is what it was called when I was young) against hand people, running away from ghosts that popped out of boxes and punched boxes. Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX hasn’t tweaked this at all. The remake delivers a gorgeous new coat of paint thanks to its hand-drawn visual art style.
The new game follows the original directly. Everything about it is faithful in its design. Be it the dragons that fly about, the secret areas you could get into, the rock-paper-scissors matches and even the tough-as-nails gameplay. Alex still dies in one shot and the game still relies on its precision platforming to get through. This means timing jumps to avoid flying enemies, breaking the right blocks to make stairs to reach a bag of money and using items to enhance the playthrough.
I played the original a lot. So I fought hard to get this review code so I could replay this game and it was totally worth it. Every stage was filled with nostalgia even though some of the areas look drastically different in the remake. Take the second stage, for example. In the original game, it was a bunch of stone pebbles and green hills. In the remake, this is replaced with a fully detailed world that helped me feel more immersed in Miracle World than ever before.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX also includes the ability to instantly swap between the original and the remake with a press of the button. I was forever moving back and forth between the two just to see how amazing I thought the game looked on my tiny CRT TV back in the day and how far it has come. The gameplay also remains solid while swapping between the two modes making it feel seamless.
It is also fantastic to see how well everything has been tweaked. Especially the soundtrack. While it sounds amazing by today’s standards, it also still stays true to the original. The swappable modes helped me realize this. However, I still preferred the original soundtrack no matter how dated it was. Nothing beats that Radaxian Castle tune….. Oh yes!
But as gorgeous and nice-sounding as Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is, it too suffers from the same issue I had with my other recent remake playthrough of Wonder Boy IV. The gameplay hasn’t aged well. The remake, by default, relies on being precise and very careful with everything you do. If you run out of lives you restart at the start of the stage. Alex also loses every item he has when he dies making collecting them pointless. You die a lot, there is no getting away from this.
While some levels have been perfectly crafted with the ability to dodge enemies at the right moment and jump to a specific platform when the time is right. Not every level boasts this polish and often I met my demise thanks to a rogue fireball. I can’t help but get annoyed. With that being said, the infinite lives option in Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX makes this easier. I was able to enjoy the game, die as many times as I wanted to respawn just a few clicks before my death. Yes, I finally finished the game for the first time in my life!
The overall gameplay also shows its age in Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX when you think about how one-note it is. Alex can punch boxes and that is about it. Sure, you get items like a bracelet that lets him shoot fireballs and vehicles to ride. However, you die so often that these items aren’t around long enough to actually enjoy them. After a while, I avoided combat completely just to try and keep my bracelet for the boss at the end of the stage.
There isn’t much variety in stage design either. There is an odd swimming stage here, a pelicopter stage there and a handful of castle levels. Nothing memorable in the long run. The 17 stages are over very fast too. Well, if you don’t play with infinite lives it might take forever to get to the end. There are some collectables to find too and items to purchase at the store. Again, these are gone by the time I got to enjoy them. So much so that I played the entire second playthrough without buying a single item. Got a trophy for it too.
Where Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX does shine is in its incredible visuals and sound. While I preferred the original music, the game’s art is magical. Everything is moving on the screen, Alex is cool to watch jump around and move about. Even if his character looks nothing like the original round-headed Alex. The game just lit up my gaming room with vibrant cartoon art and I could not get enough of it. Even the characters that were confusing to look at in the original have been masterfully crafted with loads of personality in Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX.
The game is short through. You can speed run it in about 3 hours or less. That is with infinite lives though. Once completed, I unlocked a true classic mode that let me play the original Alex Kidd in Miracle World on a smaller screen with all the original assets and design. There is also a boss rush mode where you fight all the bosses over and over again. Not a mode I will go into but fun for those who want it.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX Review
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a great remake that truly brings the old game to life in new ways. It is stunning on screen and every stage feels authentic while also delivering a fresh coat of paint. I am glad this game is around. More people need to play it. Sure, it is short and the gameplay is limited but for a remake, this is exceptional. Just don’t rage when you die from spikes in the castle while underwater over and over again.
This Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX review was based on a code sent to us by Merge Games
Available On: PS4, Switch, Xbox, PC |Reviewed On: PS5 | Release Date: 23 June 2021 | Price: R359
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