We were recently given the opportunity to review Concursion, the retro style mash-up from Puuba Games & Mastertronic. As you may have seen on our Twitch channel the past few weeks, we’ve been finishing up the game and streaming footage. The game was tons of fun though it sure had its stressful moments. If you like old school games that will challenge you but still maintain a fun factor, you should check out Concursion. It’s available on Steam, for only $11.99. Want to know what we thought of the game in more detail? Read on for the full review.
Graphics – 7/10 – The graphics in Concursion are vivid, vibrant, and well suited to the game, but let’s be honest, this is not going to wow you with graphical prowess. Why? Because that is not what this game is about. It’s intended to be a retro-style game with 16-bit inspired graphics. Thus, graphics are mainly there to give the player something to look at and be able to distinguish themselves from enemies. That being said, some of the background art in the various stages is just gorgeous in my opinion. Very nicely done and would make nice wallpaper on a computer. Could the game look nicer? Yes, but it could also look a lot worse, and like I said, it’s not intended to be a gritty, realistic, art house type style.
Sound/Music – 7/10 – The music in Concursion is fairly catchy and nice to listen to as you to try to progress through the levels. It doesn’t oversaturate the levels, but provides a good background setting and allows you to concentrate on the gameplay, but still enjoy a nice relaxing theme. Same thing goes for the sound effects. Though I will admit, you will likely get sick of hearing the death sound effect as I know I did, as this is a tough game in spots and thus you’ll likely hear the death noise over and over again.
Gameplay – 9.5/10 – Now this is where Concursion truly shines. Puuba Games has developed quite an impressive amalgamation of genres. There’s platformer stages, Ninja Gaiden inspired stages, Pac-Man like stages, jet pack stages, and spaceship style stages resembling classics like the Gradius & R-Type series. And on top of all that, they even mix the different genres together within a single stage at times. Sometimes it’s two or three types, sometimes it’s all five. It really makes for an interesting gameplay mechanic and is something you don’t usually see a lot of in the industry. Most games stick with one or two genres, maybe three, but Concursion goes full-bore with five different ones in the same game, mixing them throughout like a fine cocktail of gaming goodness. And just when you think you’ve got things down and you’ve learned how the game will throw things at you, it’ll spin things around you and make you play the same exact kinds of stages in different ways. To conquer Concursion, you will truly have to master the different genres and be able to switch between them with only a few seconds of time to prepare.
Story – 6.5/10 – While the gameplay is phenomenal in Concursion, the story is somewhat bland and not too compelling in my opinion. That’s not to say it’s horrible or anything, it just is seemingly the same kind of thing we see in a lot of platformer type games. Though admittedly Concursion is more than just a platformer. But there is quite a big twist near the end of the game which reveals that the story is not all it seems to be and this twist is something that isn’t usually done in games like this, so that makes it a bit different from your average platformer type game. It’s a nice surprise, though it kind of makes you wish this had been revealed sooner and expanded upon further, as it would make it easier in my opinion to get into the game’s story and your objective.
Challenge – 9.5/10 – Wow…just wow. At first glance, you might think to yourself, how can a game like Concursion be difficult? Surely it’s just another cute platformer like so many games were back in the 1980s and 90s, right? Well, you’d be wrong, quite wrong. Why is that? Because this is much, much more than a mere platformer. As I mentioned above, there are a whole four other genres included within the game, puzzle, action, shoot-em-up, and adventure. So it’s not just a platformer. And let me tell you, this game will have you wanting to throw your controller at your monitor. It is that tough. Are there easy spots in the game? Yes, of course there are. But there’s plenty of hard sections as well that more than make up for this. There were certain levels I was stuck on for days and must’ve attempted 30 times or more before I was finally able to clear them. These types of stages require nearly 100% perfection on the controls and the gameplay mechanics in order for you to progress, so if you don’t have a solid grasp of these things, be prepared to struggle. Fortunately once you clear a stage like this, the game usually gives you a break and has several easier levels afterwards to help bring your frustration level back down to normal. And keep in mind, this has thus far said NOTHING about the collectible gem shards in the game. This is just to clear a level. To truly beat a level and accomplish everything, you have to collect around three to five gem shards in each stage. All while dodging the multitudes of enemies, avoiding falling the numerous pits, performing insane jumps, maneuvering through spiked corridors, and much, much more. While you’re flinging your controller towards your screen, you’ll likely rip out your hair as well. All I can say is, just take a break and come back to it in another day or two and maybe you’ll finally get past the super difficult parts. Concursion is definitely old school with its challenge, but fortunately, the game gives you infinite lives, so as long you reach checkpoints, you’ll rarely ever have to start a stage over completely.
Replay Value & Fun Factor – 8/10 – Concursion is a fun game overall, in my opinion. Is it tough? Yes, but it feels oh so rewarding when you finally clear a tough section of the game and even more so when you finally beat the game itself. That being said, this game will likely frustrate you, especially if you’re not used to retro style gaming. But even with the challenging portions, switching between different genres in the same game and even in the same level is an interesting mechanic and makes for a fun time. It’s somewhat similar to games like The Lost Vikings in that regard, though admittedly TLV didn’t switch genres on you, but rather had different abilities for the different characters. But you are required to switch between genres to progress in Concursion. If you do not, you will never complete the game. As far as replaying it goes, there are Steam achievements to unlock, gem shards to collect, and best time per stage leaderboards to conquer. Other than these things, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to play the game further once you have done all of this. I was unable to gather all of the gem shards in my play through and it’s possible that doing so may change the ending or unlock a hidden mode or feature, but that remains to be seen.
Buy It Or Not? – Buy! – If you like the idea of retro style gaming and are okay with games that will make you angry from how difficult they are, you’ll find a lot to like in Concursion. The game is difficult for sure, but not so much that you will play it thousands of times and never make it through. I mean, this isn’t Iron Tank after all. And even when you finish the game, you still can go through and collect gem shards you missed, unlock Steam achievements, and try to reach the top of the leaderboards for each stage with the fastest completion time. Concursion is only $14.99 on Steam, so there is a lot of game here for just $15. It’s well worth the money if you like the idea of retro inspired gaming and want something that will challenge you and still be fun at the same time.
Overall (Average) – 7.92/10
Overall (Non-Average) – 8.5/10 – I bumped the score up a bit for Concursion because it is just a fun game overall. Is it perfect? No, but few games are. There is a lot to like here in Concursion. The challenge is insane in the game and the gameplay itself is brilliant and makes me hopeful that game will do well enough to warrant a sequel. I’d love to see more games that utilize this type of mechanic, changing gameplay styles on the fly in levels.