Thanks to PlayEveryware for the review code
Title: Olympia Rising
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 06/09/2016
The main game/story
In this action platformer, you take control of a warrior named Iola, who is sent to the underworld and must fight her way back to Mount Olympus to figure out the secret behind her death. A fairly standard story for a game that takes inspiration from retro games of old, for better or for worse.
With an 8-bit art style similar to that of retro titles from the TurboGrafx/Late NES era, Olympia Rising looks great, with pixels that look really crisp to backgrounds in outside areas that look gorgeous. Unfortunately, when in any sort of interior area like a cave, (Which is a good part of the game), the background and scenery can become dull to look at really quickly, which is a shame considering how the exterior areas are the complete opposite.
Music and Sound
Just like the retro visuals, Olympia Rising also comes with a chiptune soundtrack, with music that sounds an awful lot like the early Castlevania titles on the NES, which seems to have be intentional from the developers. While some of these themes are easy on the ears, there are also a few rather irritating songs that play in some of the more difficult stages, leading to a soundtrack that’s mediocre overall.
The game starts off with a promising control method, where you attack with your sword and jump with the jump button, occasionally getting the ability to use attack magic or to slow your descent by holding the jump button down. For some levels, this leads to a fun experience, where you must defeat enemies to gather coins to pay the toll fee at the end of the stage. Unfortunately, this toll system is also where the biggest problem with the game begins to show. At the end of every normal level, you must pay a toll fee, which is done by collecting as many silver coins as you can during a stage. In the more explorative stages where you can go at your own pace, this works out decently enough, allowing you to take your time, be careful and take advantage of defeating multiple enemies in a chain.
But then you get to the acid stages, a stage where the acid rises constantly from the bottom of the screen, requiring you to avoid and hurry to the exit at the top of the stage. While this would be an OK distraction every once in a while in a game that doesn’t require collecting a lot of the items, these kind of stages appear frequently in this game, which leads to a very irritating difficulty spike every time these stages pop up. It’s also no fun to be close to the end of the stage, only for the framerate to dip and cause you to mistime your jump or movement, which happens quite a bit in these stages.
There is an odd way you could get around these pesky stages, however, and that’s by entering four symbol passwords to skip over a level giving you a lot of trouble. Yes, for some baffling reason, a game in 2016 uses passwords as its primary feature for saving, although thankfully there’s an auto save that lets you manually continue right where you left off in a game, but the lack of any traditional saves alongside these auto and password saves is a bit confusing. Even if the game wants to keep its retro aim, having a password system seems to be pointless unless its for a cheat code or unlocking secrets. Thankfully, the Wii U version allows you to post to the Miiverse community with a simple button press, allowing you to share these passwords with other players to help them out, giving it a bit of an extra purpose, but its still a feature that I don’t particularly understand nonetheless.
In conclusion, Olympia Rising is a title that has a good enough concept in theory, but falls flat due to the amount of levels that suddenly spike up the difficulty, along with the framerate issues in those levels that make the difficulty spikes even worse. However, there’s still some good parts to this game, from the gorgeous design of some of the areas to the fun stages that allow you to play it at your own pace. Still, due to the low $5 price tag, Olympia Rising is a game that won’t hurt your wallet too much if you decide to take on the challenge. Just keep those pesky acid stages in mind, practice a lot and you’ll find a decent enough adventure with some good moments. I give Olympia Rising a 6 out of 10,