Thanks to NAMI TENTOU for the review code
Title: Yeah Yeah Beebiss II
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 02/02/2022
In this NES homebrew tribute… You play as two heroes who set out to contain a terrifying evil, and must stop spirits haunting the land! But that isn’t the interesting part: no, the true appeal of this game is the story surrounding it. Basically, a long time ago, a completely bizarre NES game labeled Yeah Yeah Beebiss I showed up in a game order catalog. Lots of speculation on what this game actually was meant to be has been spread over the decades, with no true answers, despite varying theories.
So thus, this game decided to take that enigma, pretend it was a real title that actually came to market… And made a “sequel”. This ain’t just an NES tribute either, as it appears to be a full fledged NES rom, leading to quite a respectful nod to a long-time internet rumor!
Yeah Yeah Beebis II is an NES homebrew game, and thus, the main feature adheres to that of the platform, with the game running in an emulation wrapper. It’s a pretty barebones wrapper, with only a CRT filter option to toggle, (which seems to put a filter over the entire application, including the menus) and a small set of scanned materials, such as a mock box and manual that appear to actually be based on the real life homebrew release of this game, which is a cute attention to detail. There are no screen size options of any sort here, and the border that surrounds the game during gameplay is forced on at all times.
So discounting the barren wrapper, how does this game look and sound? Well, it definitely fits the NES feel to a T, with everything adhering to system limitations and fitting fight in with around the mid 80s period of the console. You have really nice backgrounds and sprites, and even a funky font akin to the one US Castlevania III used, but the core game and title screen is very simplistic looking, and would fit right at home as an arcade scorechaser for the time.
The music is pretty catchy, but notably it does seem to all be public domain, and while excellently arranged (sounding very akin to Mega Man tunes), that sort of limitation does mean we missed out on what could have been a great original soundtrack. Oddly enough, the third stage theme sounds very similar to the Mega Man 9 boss music, and I don’t know if it’s just my ears, but it stuck in my head and drove me insane for a week trying to remember what it reminded me of, so you can at least be certain they will stick in your head regardless of public domain usage, even if you’ve likely heard these songs too many times before to count.
In Yeah Yeah Beebiss II, you take control of one of two Jiangshi, with the main goal of the game being to clear each round by eliminating all the evil forces using your magic waves. Clear the screen in the time limit, and you move onto the next one, repeating several dozen times with changing levels. You have the very traditional jump and attack control scheme, so if you’ve picked up any NES game ever, you can jump right in, since this homebrew is literally a NES ROM in the aforementioned wrapper.
Unfortunately, the lack of any emulation options doesn’t just extend from the visual aspects, but the options available to you, too. When I said the CRT filter was the only option to toggle here, I meant it: no button remappings, no save states, no rewind feature, no suspend feature, no border options, nada, you just get to play the game or back out of the emulator to the game’s menu screen, so I really cannot comment on any extras here since there aren’t any, which is a bit irksome considering the length of the game and being used to good habits from other piecemeal retro reissues.
Still, you can pick between one of the two characters on the title screen, and while they’re 100% identical save for looks, it’s at least a neat touch being able to go with your favorite solo. But by far the biggest appeal here is the local co-op, which sure enough, works like your typical retro co-op game. Both players play at the same time, take out enemies, and have to put some sort of effort to work together in order to get things done and have any chance at seeing the end of this. The stages are indeed premade and not randomized, so you’ll have a decent amount to keep you busy, with even some tricky boss rooms to clear, though the lack of save states or passwords mean you’ll have to take them all on single-sitting, just like in the olden days. It’s simplistic fun, but I found it to wear out a bit too quickly, so I feel being able to take a break in some form would have really helped this port.
Unfortunately, the biggest draw for me is despite being a clear homage to NES scorechasers and the like, there’s little scoring elements here at all: there is a score in-game, but it’s pretty meaningless and easy to ignore. No Hi-Score on the title screen is shown, at least from what I tried to fiddle with, and the lack of save states mean if it did you wouldn’t be able to save it anyhow, so you can’t even scorechase. (outside of the switch’s screenshot feature) Thus, this is pretty much a super barebones reissue of a really neat homebrew idea, and while me and a friend had some enjoyable fun for a good half hour, there was little reason for us to go back to it after that initial jump in, and the lack of even being able to play for score really hurts an incentive to go in solo for me.
In conclusion, Yeah Yeah Beebis II is a game name I never thought I’d ever type when creating my review forum, but here we are. Ultimately, it’s a decent NES homebrew, with a fun co-op mode, though the core gameplay is little more advanced than a black box title, with oddly a lack of a scorechasing focus. Add a super barebones emulator, and you have a pretty average game, albeit one that would fit the Black Box era to a T, for better or worse. Some may even see this as a glorified vanity project for the youtuber who helped create this game, but I still couldn’t not smile with how much passion was clearly poured into this goofy package, solely due to the mock manual and boxart that were made reality.
Ultimately, you won’t really find a super legendary or even engaging NES experience here: but if you have an itching for an arcade style co-op challenge, and do not mind the super barebones package on offer here for double the price of an NES Virtual Console title from back in the day, then this game is definitely one with enough care put into it that I feel is at least worth a shot. If you don’t feel this switch package is worthwhile, but like the core game idea, hey, you could always check out the real cartridge for that ultimate authenticity.
I give Yeah Yeah Beebiss II a 6 out of 10.