Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All!, the review of the new video game of the most famous Gauls in the world



In the review of Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! we will analyze the return of the world’s most famous Gauls on Nintendo Switch

Born from the pen of René Goscinny and the pencil of Albert Uderzo back in 1959 for the magazine Pilote and then published in over a hundred countries, the mustachioed Asterix is not new to our favorite medium: the first video game focused on his adventures dates back to 1983 and since then the license has been transposed on several occasions, paying homage to the comic, cartoons and movies in the flesh with titles too often very mediocre. We were intrigued by the announcement of a 2D scrolling fighting game: it’s an underrepresented genre, which is only recently making a comeback thanks to the excellent performances of titles like Streets of Rage 4, but it’s still damn fun, especially if played with friends.

This review of Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All!, therefore, will explain why we were hugely disappointed.

Comic Stories

Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All!, Asterix mena the Romans

The idea of beating up Roman legionnaires as Asterix and his inseparable friend Obelix always has something perversely delicious about it, so it’s not like you needed an intricate plot to motivate the inevitable button mashing. Developer Mr. Nutz Studio, however, promised a more original approach than usual: Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! was to transpose the most famous comic books, turning them into scrolling stages in which to beat up hordes of centurions, bandits and pirates.

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The game published by Microids does so, but to the original comic panels it devotes just a few illustrations between one stage and another, quoting some dialogue practically decontextualized that serves only to justify the next game level. None of this dialogue is dubbed – although the characters of Asterix and Obelix say a few phrases during the fights – except for the narrator who introduces the various Acts in which the main campaign is divided into various stages.

So the presentation is really poor: the intermezzo scenes introduce a lot of characters like Panoramix, Falbalà, Abraracourcix and so on, but they have just a line or two and then disappear completely. On balance, it is not clear how these stories begin and end, which often pass through game scenarios that did not even appear in the original albums. Obviously this ploy serves to prolong the duration of the game, which is quite long-lived in itself: the stages are dozens, some of them quite long, and if you run into a game over you have to start the level over again, since there are no intermediate checkpoints.

The campaign is the only game mode available at the beginning of the game: once completed, it remains only to play the individual stages to improve your score, perhaps by choosing a higher difficulty among the various selectable. The problem is that the experience is enormously repetitive, both for the structure of the stages and the little variety of enemies, both for the nature of the gameplay too classic.

How to beat the Romans

Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All!, Asterix slaps a centurion

Mr. Nuntz Studio certainly didn’t promise an innovative or revolutionary combat system, and indeed from the very beginning it was talked about as an extremely traditional scrolling fighting game, but the press release mentions “a wide range of unique moves and combinations for each character” that we, honestly, didn’t find. Asterix and Obelix possess a single combo each, which can be chained to special attacks: the latter are performed by pressing the appropriate button along with a direction, but they all look similar and don’t differentiate the two Gauls all that much. Asterix can become a spinning top and hit all the surrounding enemies, while Obelix can grab them and continue to hit them in different ways, but if we exclude these peculiarities, the two characters are essentially identical: it did not seem to us that Obelix inflicts more damage, given the size, to say, or that Asterix moves faster.

That said, the problem of gameplay is certainly not the park moves, which is still more than decent and provides a good variety, as the dynamics of combat itself, if we can call them so. The enemies are virtually all the same and within a few levels you will have seen them all: occasionally take the field of the real bosses at the end of the stage, but the developer recycles to exhaustion even those, which do not represent much of a threat. Often, in fact, are more obnoxious henchmen who accompany them.

The game, in fact, is balanced very badly. Any enemy attack can interrupt the animations of the two protagonists, so that using the grip with Obelix is often unnecessarily risky, since the long initial animation is almost always interrupted, leaving the cock exposed and vulnerable. The parry, then, is almost totally useless. Like the special attacks, it also consumes Lightning (a small indicator placed under the health of the character) with each blow neutralized, but the animation is slow and imprecise, so it is almost impossible to switch from a combo to a parry while the enemies surround us, especially if we consider that the parry protects only from the front and attacks from behind interrupt it.

Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All!, bandits in the forest

That being said, there are enemies that attack with unpredictable animations that the player cannot interrupt – like bandit charges – and this often forces you to choose the easiest solution: crowd control. Rather than taking down enemies by ducking on the grunt, you realize that the best solution is to grab the smaller ones and throw them from one point to another on the screen to throw them all to the ground repeatedly. At times you have the feeling of cheating, but the most direct alternative is too confusing and unsatisfying: to this is also added the boredom of facing the same opponents, thinking that just make a false step, perhaps at the end of the stage, to find themselves at the starting point. In this sense, the foods that are occasionally found in the barrels should be used wisely to restore the health of the character put worse.

Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! can be played alone or with friends. On Nintendo Switch, simply select cooperative mode at any time and entrust a friend with a Joy-Con or other controller to continue beating the Romans together. In cooperative mode, though, the game hardly changes at all. Communication adds a bit of salt to the experience, especially when you need to share regenerative food or you’re backed into a corner, but the gameplay is so mundane and lacking in flashes that not even multiplayer manages to lift it from mediocrity.

Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All!, collect the bags full of money increases the score

The developer has slipped in a few mini-games here and there to break the monotony, but even those are simple affairs: in most cases it is to run as fast as you can by repeatedly pressing a button to get to the finish line before an opponent, or you have to break as many barrels as possible before time runs out. Nothing particularly addictive, if you really want to put it that way.

And that’s a pity because Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! is really nice to look at. Mr. Nutz Studio has chosen 2D graphics drawn completely by hand, and the result shows. The stages are incredibly accurate and rich in detail, but in general it seems to watch a cartoon that respectfully transposes the drawings of Uderzo, complete with onomatopoeia to every punch thrown. Even the sprites of the enemies denote a certain variety, and although there are few types of opponents, at least they are not limited to being simple sprite recolored as happens in many other games. It’s a shame, then, that some animations aren’t as smooth or harmonious as others – those of the parry are particularly rough – and that in some stages there are noticeable slowdowns if the presence of so many sprites adds up to a few too many animations in the background.

Comment

Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! wastes a faithful and colorful graphics – net of some poorly edited animation – for a gameplay trivial and uninspired. The campaign is long and repetitive, there are no alternative game modes and the combat system suffers from a questionable balance that often turns into an exercise in frustration. Too bad, because the title Mr. Nutz Studio had all the credentials to be a great scrolling brawler, and instead is just another disappointing Asterix in the unfortunate career of the Gallic hero video game, recommended only for diehard fans of Uderzo and Goscinny.

PRO

  • The hand-drawn scenery and most of the sprites are beautiful to look at and very faithful to the original artwork
  • Played in two has its own reason
  • Boring and repetitive campaign
  • Little variety of enemies and stages
  • It is balanced really badly at all difficulty levels
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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