Review: Super Bonk (SNES)

Bonk moonlights on the Super Nintendo

After becoming a staple and mascot of sorts after 3 platformer releases on NEC's TurboGrafx-16 console, Bonk was given new life on the Super Nintendo system with the release of Super Bonk. The game went unnoticed for the most part, but it's gone on to become a bit of a cult favourite among Super Nintendo fans over the years. While many of the gameplay nuances of the TurboGrafx-16 releases were carried over to this release, Hudson was able to inject enough new design twists to give it a more updated look and feel.

Hudson didn't stray too far from the classic Bonk gameplay formula when it came time to put Super Bonk together. While the same slightly loose feel is firmly intact, it's something that will immediately feel familiar to longtime fans of the series. The goal is still to reach the end of each level, but this time around the developers have made it a bit more tricky and you'll often find that traversing your way to the exit is a bit more difficult than the rather linear designs of the earlier releases.

Bonk still has his standard move set from past titles, with his ability to headbutt on the ground as well as in mid-air. He'll even be able to destroy certain walls that get in his way, not to mention shrink or transform into the super-sized Super Bonk. You'll quickly find that these added transformations become crucial in being able to navigate some of the trickier sections of levels. The bonus levels make a return as well and this time around there are a huge number of them to tackle, each with a different overall goal in mind.

There will inevitably be those who will wonder why Hudson chose not to tighten the control system up a bit for this release, but it's difficult to pick fault with a company trying to please longtime fans by retaining the classic feel. The simple controls keep things intuitive and easy to pick up, but the new level designs do a nice job of making things challenging and fresh. About the only real gripe that could be levied against the game might be the game's somewhat short length; that's not to say that you'll be able to blow through it in one sitting, but don't expect the type of epic length and replayability of some of the more top tier Super Nintendo platformers out there.

The TurboGrafx-16 releases were certainly no slouch in the graphics department, but the added oomph of the Super Nintendo's graphical capabilities allowed the developers to take things a step beyond. Once again the visual presentation features bright and contrasting colours galore, but it might have been nice to see a little parallax scrolling given the Super Nintendo's visual horsepower.

There have been quite a few memorable musical tracks to come out of the Bonk series over the years and while the soundtrack in Super Bonk is certainly adequate, it just lacks a bit of the catchiness from the Turbo releases. There are some really amazing sound effects tossed in with even a nice variety of character sound effects that add a charming touch to the overall audio experience.

Conclusion

Since Super Bonk plays very similarly to its TurboGrafx-16 counterparts, it's definitely going to appeal more to fans of the original releases than those looking for a Super Mario-calibre platformer. The slightly sluggish controls and somewhat short length might turn some players off, but gamers who can appreciate a unique spin on the classic Bonk experience are likely to find enough to enjoy to warrant their Wii Points. In many ways the game is actually even more playable than the originals, something to keep in mind if you're a fan of them.