Like it or not, the ‘indie updates to sort-of-popular classic games’ train continues to roll right along. Magic Thighs & Slightly Phil Save Japan ($1.00)— I don’t care who you are, you gotta love that title— is a somewhat modern homage to Bomb Jack, a tough, combo-based arcade platformer originally made by Tecmo.
The changes here are of the cosmetic kind, though, as the core gameplay is largely similar to Bomb Jack. Using various images and art of the iconic Mt. Fuji1 as its background setting, the game asks our eponymous heroes (local co-op is available) to collect all the coins in a given stage (60+ levels in all) while on a timer and avoiding a gang of monkeys, birds, and other
fowl foul creatures that form the evil-sounding ‘Zodiac Gang’.
You’ll have a generous ‘jump’ in your step to do so, and you’re able to hold down the button to get more height, or tap it to hover and avoid enemies— and their erratic patterns— on your descent. While you have no ready-made offensive move to dispatch foes, you can use a Pac-Man-esque powerup spawn to temporarily turn all enemies into cats(!) that can be captured for additional points.
With that emphasis on scoring, the ‘coins’ in this game can be collected in sequence (similar to how the bombs’ fuses would spark in Bomb Jack) to further build up points and maintain a combo. This comes with the trade-off of putting you in more danger. With extra lives at a premium (and one touch meaning instant death), it presents that classic conundrum of weighing out risk and reward.
Of course, that decision of risk might be made easier with the fact that the leaderboards are local-only. For a game born in the arcade and meant for competition, that’s a bit of a downer. A few other issues come into play as well. There’s some slight slowdown when multiple enemies are on-screen, and possibly other potential bugs (I once got a Code 4 after completing level 20).
Neither detract too much from the overall game, though, which is fun for casual players and the challenge-seeking set. Just don’t expect much beyond the continual hook of achieving a high score, or any fresh ideas, and you’ll be fine. Ditto the game. Magic Thighs & Slightly Phil2 may not be original, but it is a modern remake done… fine.
This review is also featured at Indiepitome