Juanito Arcade Mayhem does something right in the beginning: he refuses to complicate the argument to uncover a self-parochial story tha
t is about to rescue some arcade video games from the clutches of the evil clone cells. The argument takes itself very little seriously, which is to be g
rateful from time to time in these moments; here there are no characters to analyze in terms of their motivations, their psychology or their evolution, but the classic menu of a 16 Bit game, even with sou
nds that suspiciously resemble those of the old Neo-Geo console. In spite of it, once put in task there is no space for the imitation of the ol
d pixelated models, which also begins to be appreciated because the result is not always the expected with this type of approach. Juanito Arcade
Mayhem does not imitate the old monitors or the characters of decades ago, but opts for a casual and minimalistartistic style , even with certain reminiscences of pr
ojects for mobile devices. It is a reliable work within this school of graphics resultsones (Pixeljunk, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet,
Wonderful Explosion Machine), but this time there is a concrete detail that pulls the string down, in our view, a result graphic that could have been much higher.
Juanito’s game has many details of quality, which undoubtedly look fantastic at a time when it is almost impossible to surprise with a two-dimensional game of these characteristics. The animations of the final bosses, some of their models, the effec
ts that occur in some levels and, above all, those that cause the interferences that occur in the classic video games hacked by the bad
guys, have an undoubted charm. So do almost all funds. The main character, on the other hand, that Juanito who walks in his pajamas for the video games that his father liked, is one of the loosest designs in the videoga
me, which is a very serious problem for the final impression that leaves us all at a visual level. It is not, unfortunately, the only shad
ow in a somewhat irregular graphic section, since they do not even convince the designs of some of the evil clone cells, and the variety of them is not enough for what the game promises in its first levels.
An irregular afternoon in the arcades
This is the problem that most of the video game plans. From the start, it surprises and promises a lot . The first measures of the campaign, with the pieces of old Tetris getting in the way while we shoot in the purest Pang style , are a real
shock for every fan of retro video games: great news for those who like the twists that the formula is receiving the last years. The problem is that if we mentioned before the irregularities in the graphic aspect of the game, much greater are the differ
ences of interest between their different worlds , and this is where this little Juanito, without ever being a bad game, definitely moves away from the heights that could have reached
The problem that Juanito finds is that we do not come from nowhere to recover the formula that Mitchell Corp brought to the altars in 1989. Recently, two completely different projects have recovered it with some success , and the truth is
that that each one of them incorporated something special that ended up convincing at a playable level. Pang Adventures , the official return of the franchise after a long time, betting on a very careful level design thanks to which took all the juic
e possible to its novelties , which without being many were right for the genre, such as the constant pressure of the clock or certain puzzle elements. For its part, The Bug Butcher,also endowed with a lot of personality in the graphic aspect, compensated its scarce content with well-studied challenges t
hat managed to provoke the player to obtain the maximum stars in each level, for which it was essential to use different approaches . Some of this last try from Game Ever Studio, but unfortunately the result is something half
in his proposal. Juanito ends up being a fun and immediate videogame, that is enjoyed in a big way with an arcade stick that allows us to give ourselves to the endearing button mashing, but its design
of levels is not up to what is demanded today in an independent scene in which precisely the small studies usually compensate their lack of
budget with a lot of work in this aspect. Unfortunately, this is not the only aspect to improve, as will be clear to
whoever exceeds all their screens, since the irregularity also permeates other aspects of their proposal.
Juanito proposes nine worlds based on retro mythological games. Tetris, Arkanoid, Donkey Kong, Pong … each one gives rise to a w
orld divided into 9 levels and a special end of parties that we would not dare to call Final Boss, since it is not going to end with any enemy very handles. The problem is that in a video game like that, which also pretends to be an
old-fashioned arcade, the difficulty curve should be the main concern in terms of design, and throughout the adventure we have the feeling in too many moments that such a thing is not It has been achieved at all . Each new world introduces new
mechanics: move aboard the beloved ship Vaus of Arkanoid , dodge Wonder Boy’s axesor the square balls of great-grandfather Pong … each world incorporates its own mechanics. The problem is that not all of them are equally well integrated i
nto the gameplay , and we are from ideas as well taken as the reappear on the two corners of the stage in the manner of Pac-Man to much more anodyne, almost dispensable, as are the levels based on Pong and Wonder Boy.
In addition, the first levels of each world give the feeling of being much simpler. Possibly they have been treated as a kind of demonstration o
f these dynamics, but at the moment of truth what has happened to us in some worlds has been counterproductive , and that is that we crossed too many levels too easily, to then crash into a screen of difficulty unhinged . Special m
ention in this sense is taken some moments near the end, with peaks of difficulty that come to fool around with the biggest enemy of the arcade: unjust deaths by pure accumulation of enemiesor trajectories of projectiles tha
t do not adapt fully to the screen. Even with these points to improve, the truth is that Juanito Arcade Mayhem is a surprise of the independent
scene this year. Its graphics and design may be irregular, but its finish and playability meet and lend themselves to enjoyment for those who li
ke to crush the stick or do not get tired of linking tribute after tribute to the great classics of the arcade. Anyone who likes these temporary jumps has here another essential of the independent harvest this year.