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Posted on Apr 6th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (Addicted)
Posted under Homebrew, NES, Hidden Gems

Following a successful Kickstarter Campaign in 2014, Lizard is the latest NES focused homebrew from developer Brad Smith who previously released chiptunes cartridges, Moon8 and 2A03 Puritans. Lizard forgoes powerups, lives, and timers and instead opts for an open-world, platforming adventure. It's an adventure four years in the making, so let's put on our Lizard suit and take a look.

Each area has a unique theme.

In Lizard, players take on the role of the Lizard Rider, a human who dons one of six Lizard Suits that give him the special abilities of long distance jumping, block pushing, turning into stone, fire-breathing, swimming, and surfing. The Lizard Rider will need to master all of these abilities in order to traverse the hazardous environments and defeat the boss of each area. Most areas can be completed multiple ways and it's worthwhile to experiment with different Lizard Suits.

Behold the lizard rider!

Controlling the Lizard Rider is straightforward and anyone who has played Super Mario Bros. will find a familiar control scheme and jump physics. Players can run, jump by pressing the A button, slow down by pressing down, or use a special ability by pressing the B button. Naturally, the special ability changes depending upon which suit the Lizard Rider is wearing. Pressing the select button will bring up the current password and holding it down will reset to the last checkpoint. The start button of course pauses the game. The game controls beautifully as this reviewer played through the entire game using a keyboard and didn't feel that any deaths were due to bad controls.

The penguin's flail about when stomped on trying to throw the Lizard Rider off.

The world of Lizard is like a coin with a front half and a back half. Its expansive nature requires mapping it out with graph paper as it is easy to get lost. Each half is broken up into multiple zones with their own distinctive look and sound. Special attention has been given to make the world appear alive, such as steam rising from lava dropping into a pool of cool water, snow falling on the mountainside, and water dripping into a pool in a cavern. The enemies in each area have unique designs and animation cycles, with the penguin's animation cycle as a standout. When the player jumps on its head, it flails about trying to shoo the player off.

The game is full of little touches such as the steam rising from the lava hitting the pool.

While Lizard gets most things right, there are a couple areas that could use some improvement. Ideally, with a game that depends upon interconnected screens, the screens the player uses should always be moving left to right and not up or down. A missed jump or death due to a blind jump up or down can lead to frustration. Early on, players will encounter some light green frogs. These frogs won't hurt the player, but a couple screens over there are dark green frogs. These frogs are poisonous and will kill the player. This can cause some early confusion and frustration; a different enemy or changing all frogs to poisonous would have helped alleviate this issue.

One of these frogs will kill you.

Lizard is a unique title that provides a sense of adventure and discovery rarely seen in a NES game. Those that explore its depths will find that this Lizard is the Lizard of fun.

The endings change depending upon which Lizard suit is used.

For more information about Lizard please visit:


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Thanks for the review, Addicted!  I have been thinking about getting the physical release of the game, and this just might put me over the edge...
I Kickstarted this game a few years ago and actually talk about my experience with the Kickstarter in our upcoming Playcast episode. In short, this was the best Kickstarter experience I've ever had. Brad always provided lengthy updates and photos of what he was working on almost monthly to his backers. Something like this is a labor of love and I understand the desire to get it as perfect as possible. I never minded the wait or worried about getting the game because he was so good at communicating. Support this developer and pick up a copy of this awesome game. 

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