If Mr Tako looks a little familiar to you, it’s because he actually made his debut on the Nintendo Switch back in 2018 in Save Me Mr Tako: Tasukete Tako-San. Whilst the game was praised, there were some issues that cropped up that developer Christophe Galati looked to fix with a patch… except that patch never came out. Despite it being ready, publisher Nicalis didn’t deem it financially viable to actually release it. If you’re interested in reading more about that situation, you can check out this article at Kotaku.
Fortunately, this setback didn’t phase Christophe Galati and he instead took back control of the game. This did see it get de-listed from digital storefronts, but, with the help of Limited Run Games, it’s back again in the improved form of Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition. I didn’t get to play the Game Boy-inspired adventure during its initial release, so I was happy to check it out now.
Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition tells the story of a war being waged between the humans and the octopi, with octopus-protagonist Tako’s brother Bako leading the charge. As is the case with a lot of siblings, there’s a bit of a difference of opinion, with Tako looking to try and stop his brother’s warring and show that there can be peace between both races.
There’s a surprising amount of depth to be found in Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition’s narrative and it explores some themes that you wouldn’t expect given the whimsical vibe of the game. Of course, it’s all utterly bizarre, but in that endearing kind of way. It’s definitely easy to root for Tako though, whilst the odd world and its peculiar inhabitants help build upon the meaningful story.
“There’s a surprising amount of depth to be found in Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition’s narrative and it explores some themes that you wouldn’t expect given the whimsical vibe of the game.”
Gameplay-wise, Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition plays out like your typical 2D platforming adventure, albeit one that’s being played on a Game Boy. Players will work their way through an array of vibrant levels, all whilst tackling tricky platforming challenges and making sure that the enemies don’t get Tako. Fortunately, you’re well equipped for the job, with Tako able to launch ink at his enemies in order to stun them in place. Whilst this stops them from hunting him down, it also means they can be used as makeshift platforms to help traverse the level. It almost adds a puzzle-like element to taking out enemies, with careful timing and positioning essential to reaching the end of some levels.
Tako is also able to collect a variety of different hats across each level, with each offering different abilities in a similar vein to those seen in the Super Mario series – it’s much more expanded here though, with fifty different hats on offer. Some will be used to help progress in specific levels too, so their use can be essential. With things like the ability to launch bombs, take less damage, shoot arrows, or move at a faster speed, they can really be game-changers as far as progression through the game is concerned.
“There are plenty of secret pathways or hard to reach areas in levels, with a keen eye and clever thinking often required to reach them.”
A lot of hats will unlock as you progress through the game, whilst others have to be discovered with a bit of work. This might be done by completing side quests or interacting with specific characters across the world, but some take a bit of extra exploration in levels. There are plenty of secret pathways or hard to reach areas in levels, with a keen eye and clever thinking often required to reach them. You’ve really got to be creative at times, but it adds to the charm of the game.
With so much to discover and plenty to do, Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition is quite a meaty adventure. I remember finishing a lot of old-school Game Boy platformers quite quickly, but I’ve spent over fifteen-hours with Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition and still haven’t unlocked everything.
It all makes for a really fun time though, with the slick level design and charming world adding up to a memorable adventure. There was plenty of variety to be found across the game’s six worlds, whilst clearing side quests and unlocking more hats was ALWAYS addictive. I did wish there was a better system to track the quests I had undertaken, though a newly-integrated hint system ensures that you can get a quick reminder of the task at hand with ease. It’s just a really fun game that embraces the classic old-school design mantra in a creative and enjoyable way.
“It all makes for a really fun time though, with the slick level design and charming world adding up to a memorable adventure.”
One of the most distinct things about Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition is its visual style, which will certainly rekindle fond memories for some gamers thanks to its Game Boy-style aesthetic. We’ve seen plenty of modern games utilise 16-bit and 8-bit visuals styles, so why not just use four-colours? It’s a really refreshing look that fits the tone of the game perfectly, with additional in-game settings allowing for more authenticity.
I’d be remiss not to mention the improvements that have come to Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition, but it’s difficult for me to fully appreciate them since I didn’t play the game the first time around. The camera has been re-worked to follow the action better and allow players to see anything that’s going on above and below them for example, whilst the checkpoint system is more forgiving and enemy placements are less imposing. There are more difficulty options too, with players having access to more lives and a heart-based health system instead of one-hit kills if they prefer.
I’m certainly happy these improvements are in place and I’m sure returning gamers will appreciate them too. I guess the fact that I had such a good time playing and didn’t have issues with the difficulty or camera goes to show that the improvements really are significant – this REALLY is the definitive edition of Tako’s adventure.
Save Me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition is a charming and nostalgic platforming romp that was a lot of fun to play through. Between the neat abilities and the slick level design, there was plenty to appreciate in Tako’s wacky world. Add to that a myriad of collectibles and levels to complete, and it’s easy to find yourself completely invested in the meaty Game Boy-inspired adventure.
Developer: Christophe Galati
Publisher: Limited Run Games, Christophe Galati
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC