Bat Boy Review - Screenshot 1 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

There’s something refreshing about playing a Mega Man-like action platformer in 2023. Instead of expansive open worlds to explore, you get a handful of themed stages to leap through. There’s no deep narrative or lore to invest in, yet the colourful cast of bad guys and allies draws you in all the same with their fun designs. Catchy chiptune scores get stuck in your head instead of epic orchestral arrangements. All of the above is true of Sonzai Game’s sports-themed Bat Boy; if you’ve played an action platformer before, you know what you’re in for, and that ain’t a bad thing.

Bat Boy’s opening cinematic introduces you to Ryosuke and his hero team of eight sporty friends, including his tennis-playing love interest Racket Girl and the macho (American) football player Mr. Blitzer. Inexplicably, a little gremlin man named Lord Vicious and his bodyguard lure the Super Sports Friends into a trap, brainwashing them to join in his games in another dimension. Ryosuke, wielding his trusty bat, manages to swat away the brainwashing magic before it can infect him, so it’s up to him to seek out and beat the possession out of his buddies as the titular Bat Boy, gaining his friends’ abilities along the way that will help him in his quest. Also along for the ride is Garou, a talking crow that doles out information and one-liners.

Bat Boy Review - Screenshot 2 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

To save his friends, Bat Boy tackles 12 vivid and uniquely themed stages, most of them vaguely linked to the sport of the boss at the end of the level. Aquaria, for instance, lords over a sunshine-filled beach stage, though Starlet Twirl resides in a vibrant jungle where we couldn’t really find a connection to her baton twirling. There’s a handful of other levels that include platforming challenges, optional fights, and your genre standard final level split into two sections. All of them had some pretty catchy music that we never grew tired of; in fact, we made sure to crank the music volume up in the settings.

Unlike Mega Man, Bat Boy doesn’t have an immediate way to shoot foes. Instead, he whacks them with his bat. His other primary means of both offence and defence is batting enemy projectiles back at them. Early on, he learns to throw his bat at opponents (we’re pretty sure that’s an illegal move in baseball), and later he tosses tennis balls, basketballs, and more. Much like how Shovel Knight can bounce off foes with his shovel, Bat Boy also garners airtime if he whacks an opponent in the air, creating a fluid movement system that requires precise timing yet feels fair and satisfying.

Bat Boy Review - Screenshot 3 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

While we enjoyed Bat Boy’s base moveset, we hardly used most of his friends’ abilities once we learned them. The Basketeer’s bouncing basketball attack, for instance, we forgot about, and we rarely found a use for Starlet Twirl’s Grappling Ribbon. On the other hand, Aquaria’s invincibility bubble saved us from striking out time and time again. These abilities share limited stamina, so we felt pressured into saving the uses to keep ourselves alive in the enemy-dense stages.

These enemies mostly consist of Pigzies, which are adorable little pig monsters dressed up in all manner of costumes: hockey Pigzies that skate around on slippery ice surfaces, samurai Pigzies that slash with their kendo swords, infuriating tennis-racket-wielding Pigzies that knock back any projectile without fail, and so forth. When a stage was absolutely filled with Pigzies and other critters, the sheer amount of baseballs and soccer balls thrown around can overwhelm. It was a good thing that we could increase Bat Boy’s health through finding optional hidden herbs throughout each stage

Bat Boy Review - Screenshot 4 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Without these health upgrades, we would have never been able to finish the game, and we consider ourselves quite experienced in 2D action platforming. This was because a couple of the levels threw absurd difficulty spikes our way, to the point where we failed upwards of 40 times in one stage and then cleared the subsequent stage in under five attempts. Checkpoints kept things from becoming too impossible, but as you’d expect, the final checkpoint before the boss of each stage required swatting and jumping through an absolute gauntlet of challenge.

Mr. Blitzer’s lava-themed stage, in particular, had us ready to chuck our bat out the window. After a lengthy sequence, the pre-checkpoint challenge required dodging a pig-nosed lava shark on a small raft with limited room to manoeuvre, before a horde of Chargin’ Chuck-like Pigzies rushed us. If we weren’t determined to see Bat Boy through for review purposes, this section might have stopped us from returning to finish.

That’s strike one. Strike two comes from a few bugs and glitches. These ranged from enemies and obstacles getting stuck in the environment, to being unable to resume play after opening the pause menu. The latter required us to close out of the game entirely, losing our checkpoint progress more than once before we remembered to open up the Home menu on the Switch instead.

Bat Boy Review - Screenshot 5 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Near the end of the game, Gooiji-like clones of Bat Boy mirror his movements until lured into the rain where they melt. However, as we tried and failed this difficult (but fair) section multiple times, the Gooiji Bat Boys eventually glitched out and stopped spawning altogether, negating an otherwise climatic challenge that led up to the second-to-last boss fight.


If you’re itching for some classic action platforming with a Mega Man flavour, Bat Boy will satisfy. It has a fun sports theme, some great tunes, and vibrant levels to navigate. As fans of that genre, we enjoyed most of our time with it outside of a few sudden spikes in difficulty and a handful of bugs – particularly one that lost us progress if we dared to use the pause menu. A patch or two post-launch might alleviate these issues, but in its current state, Bat Boy doesn’t hit a home run — though it doesn't quite strike out, either.