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Ufouria (NES) artwork

Ufouria (NES) review

"Think of it as Mario meets Metroid. So... Marioid? Metrio? The world is made of various platforming situations, and it's up to you to use your skills, items and other recruitable characters to conquer them and find a way out of this twisted wonderland."

Beyond this world lies another, one made of sugar-coated nightmares and seen in late night acid trips. It's there that a hybrid Rosswell alien-snowman searches for his missing compatriots and battles murderous clowns and disembodied lips. This world and its events are documented in the ramblings of those who have beheld it, programmed into a gray cartridge called Ufouria: The Saga.

Think of it as Mario meets Metroid. So... Marioid? Metrio? The world is made of various platforming situations, and it's up to you to use your skills, items and other recruitable characters to conquer them and find a way out of this twisted wonderland.

Your quest opens up in the middle of nowhere, a wide open space occupied by blobs and slithering lips. Bounce past them and you'll arrive at a floating head and a dead end. A moment's pause reveals a rope lowering from the sky. Climb it and find that it's a long strand of drool hanging down from another disembodied head. The oddness never ceases. When you're not getting lifts from bariatric birds with propellers on their heads, you're swimming past harpoon-toting anthropomorphic dogs in scuba gear. Not long after dodging crows that drop ten-ton weights, you're battling a giant naked man with a bulbous head or a cat in full medieval armor.

Your main offense is to make like Scrooge McDuck and jump while holding down. Come crashing down on an enemy and you won't kill them, but turn them into a blue severed head to toss at other enemies (think Super Mario Bros. 2). The controls, geared more towards the Mario aspect, play into the simple, yet illogical combat--something from which any cute old school platformer benefits.

Unlike other platformers, Ufouria doesn't follow a linear structure, but has a contiguous world built of various platforming situations. No space is wasted. There are no dead end hallways or red herrings. Every place either holds a new item or character that will help you on your quest and expand the area you can explore. For instance, recruit Freeon-Leeon, a lizard that can walk on ice and float on water, and now you can float across a body of water to reach the first boss.

But yeah, I will still yammer on about the platforming situations, because some of them are downright challenging and brilliant. One scene pulls a Mega Man where you have to jump from one cloud to another before they fall. You eventually come to a point where you cannot go any farther and you assume you've reached the end of your line. You try to jump to the next cloud, but find that it's too far away. The solution will make you kick yourself: you had to wait for another cloud to rise up in front of you.

Another tricky scene has you using your freeze breath on enemies floating up and down over lava, creating temporary platforms. You can screw yourself if your timing isn't just right. You've got to freeze them low and progressively higher. Freeze one too high and you might not be able to freeze the one after that. Your reward for failure is a dip in the burning drink below and a game over screen.

Die and you start all the way at the beginning. You'll retain all the items you've found and characters you've recruited, but you have to trek all the way back to that scene again and hope you do it proper this time. Chances are you'll die several times during some of these situations and wind up having to trek back ten, twenty, fifty times before you get it right. Thankfully, there are passwords.

However, it's that melding of two styles and the quirky, imaginative setting that make Ufouria memorable. Perhaps it's not as stellar as Mario, but it's the cat's meow compared to Metroid. The environment is elaborately woven and carefully planned. Nothing is wasted and exploration is seldom without reward or discovery. The only flaws are the constant backtracking every time you perish, which can happen often, and the feeling that there should be more. Give us another area or two.

If you've got 600 unused Wii points and you're itching for a new adventure title, give Ufouria: The Saga a whirl.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (March 31, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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If you enjoyed this Ufouria review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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Masters posted March 31, 2011:

Nice work, Joe. I love that you continue to cover the moldy oldies. Every review and its accompanying screenshots make me feel warm inside.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted March 31, 2011:

Thanks, Marc! I do want to review some newer stuff soon, though. I've got a few games in mind.
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CoarseDragon posted April 01, 2011:

"Chances are you'll die several times doing during some of these situations and wind up having to trek back...snip..."

Did you review this on the NES or on the Wii? You mention the Wii at the end so I was wondering about that.
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Masters posted April 01, 2011:

Newer stuff is terribly overrated. :P
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JoeTheDestroyer posted April 01, 2011:

Yeah, I think that's why I drag my feet doing the new stuff. ;)

Thanks, CD. Good catch.

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