As Nintendo’s own Nintendo Switch Online retrogaming offering continues to baffle and disappoint everyone, i decided to pick from this pathetically tiny new serving of small, back catalogues titles most people don’t really care about… well, Spanky’s Quest, from Natsume.
Don’t be fooled by the cheeky title, because a very Kirby-esque (albeit shitty, as it doesn’t actually explain even the basic premise) cutscene will introduce the titular simian, Spanky, trapped in a tower by a witch and now in a quest has to escape while watching out for enemy fruit homunculi.
It’s the kind of game that if i played back when i was a kid, i would have most likely dropped after the first few levels, not in frustration more as not being that interested. Doesn’t help that there’s no tutorial of sorts, since the way you attack isn’t obvious, nor the game tells you can bounce the bubble you launch to power it up multiple times, and then use the bubble button again to pop it for a bigger, more powerful projectile attack.
Once you figure this out, you realize this is a fairly straighforward puzzle platformer, where in each level you need all the keys (hold by the enemies) to open the door leading to the next stage, albeit made a bit more challenging by the fairly unique method of indirect attack by throwing – and juggling – bubbles like actual spherical objects, and NOT the way Bubble Bobble does it.
To my surprise, it’s actually a decent little title, and while it’s not too long (just 50 short stages, even without the save states and rewind features it’s not that hard or time consuming), it has some charm and depth to it. Just a decent, but cute little puzzle platformer from the era. Nice music, too.