It’d be easy to look at Berserk Boy and think it’s just another 2D platforming adventure to add to the crowded genre, but it’s so much more than that. This is an old-school escapade that’s stylish, cool, and super satisfying to play, with the creative level design and your varied skillset making for one heck of a fun adventure.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Berserk Boy takes place in a future that sees humanity under the risk of full enslavement by the evil Dr Genos, with the only hope to defeat him coming with Kei and his companions in the Resistance. Fortunately, Kei isn’t just a normal guy, with his trusty Berserk Orbs granting him special abilities that allow him to put up a fight against the crazed scientist’s Dark Energy minions. It’s the sort of narrative you’d have seen PLENTY of times before (especially across the Mega Man series which clearly inspired the game), but it does a good job of giving you something to fight for during your adventure.

When it comes to the gameplay, Berserk Boy focuses on 16-bit style platforming with fast-paced manoeuvres and combat. As mentioned, players will get a lot of Mega Man vibes when playing the game, but its emphasis on melee hits and dashing between targets adds a hint of Sonic the Hedgehog to the mix too. Your attacks are tied to the elements associated with each Berserk Orb, with lightning, fire, earth, air, and ice abilities to unlock as you progress through the game. Whilst these open up an array of new combat skills to unleash upon enemies, they also allow you to interact with and traverse through levels in different ways. It adds a bit of a Metroidvania-style twist to exploration, with players able to re-visit previously completed levels with their new abilities in order to open up additional pathways and find the many secrets that are scattered around.

Combat in the game is really satisfying, with the varying abilities all offering something different. It feels great to chain together attacks, switch between elements, and then unleash completely different moves into your combo, whilst the quick-paced nature of the game sees everything flow together in a stylish fashion that keeps the excitement ramped up. Each element brings with it worthwhile moves that can really pack a punch, whilst the variety of ranged and up-close abilities you earn mean you can continually evolve your combat style as you progress. There’s a surprising amount of depth to found in combat, and whilst I will admit I didn’t find it particularly challenging, it always felt good to smash through any foes in my path.

“Utilising the different abilities you unlock genuinely changes up how each level feels to play through, with the creative level design complementing your ever evolving skillset and adding a sense of variety to Berserk Boy that isn’t always present in 2D platformers.”

The level variety is also super slick, with plenty of different hazards and platforming challenges to face as you move between areas. There’s an emphasis placed on moving through levels quickly in order to avoid the slew of dangers in your path, but it never feels frustrating – instead, it looks and feels super stylish, with players quickly flicking between their traversal abilities to survive. You’ll definitely find more difficulty in the game’s level design than the combat, but it’s also one of my favourite things about Berserk Boy. Utilising the different abilities you unlock genuinely changes up how each level feels to play through, with the creative level design complementing your ever evolving skillset and adding a sense of variety to Berserk Boy that isn’t always present in 2D platformers.

It makes re-visiting levels more enjoyable, with the additional challenges brought when exploring previously inaccessible areas ensuring it’s never just a case of simply finding something you couldn’t reach before. It’s always a treat to find the bonuses or collectibles too, whilst you can also collect a currency to spend in the game’s upgrade system that’ll allow you to improve things like your health, energy meter, traversal abilities, and so forth. You shouldn’t expect to be able to afford all of these upgrades in one playthrough, but they’re definitely worthwhile if you decide to tackle the game’s higher difficulties.

That being said, there were some areas it could falter. I found the boss encounters to be underwhelming, with each battle feeling a little predictable in design. It probably didn’t help that combat in the game is easy, but there just wasn’t that much of a challenge in working out how to exploit their weaknesses or attacks. Having some repetitive encounters doesn’t help things, and whilst there were some battles that stood out, it’s definitely one of the weaker aspects of the game. Some levels felt longer than they needed to be too, which could be noticeable when replaying them to grab all of the collectibles.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Visually, Berserk Boy looks really nice, with the backgrounds and sprites offering plenty of detail and colour that wouldn’t look out of place on the 16-bit consoles you might have grown up with. Admittedly, I have seen similar modern releases do the old-school look better, but it’s still a pretty game. On the other hand, the music is superb and complements the manic action of the game perfectly, so it certainly delivers on that front.

Berserk Boy Review

Berserk Boy is an old-school platforming treat that’s a lot of fun to play through thanks to its stylish quick-paced action. It’s super satisfying to flick between your abilities and utilise them to smash through enemies or conquer the game’s platforming challenges, whilst the slick level design ensures the experience is varied as you battle through each level. There’s even a Metroidvania-style aspect to the gameplay when re-visiting previous levels to get all of the collectibles, so there’s plenty of replay value on offer if you want to get everything.

It does have some underwhelming boss battles, some levels go on longer than they need to, and the upgrades are overpriced, but they’re small issues in what is otherwise a very impressive 2D platforming release. It’s a bit of a crowded genre these days, but believe me, Berserk Boy is certainly worth your attention.

Developer: BerserkBoy Games
Publisher: BerserkBoy Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch