Nefarious is a charming little platformer with gameplay reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and Castlevania, but with a small twist; you play as the villain. Imagine becoming Bowser and having to kidnap Princess Peach. Or playing as Dr. Robotnik, fighting Sonic with giant mechs and over-the-top weapons. That’s what you do in Nefarious – kidnap princesses and fight heroes, all with the end goal of taking over the world!
Crow is the protag….*ahem* I mean antagonist of Nefarious. He’s a SNES-era super villain with a penchant for (surprise, surprise) kidnapping princesses and wielding giant robotic super weapons. However, Crow has a very unique problem. His kingdom’s hero broke up with the princess shortly after Crow kidnapped her, letting Crow get away. With his plan finally a success, Crow was unsure what to do. Being the evil genius that he is though, Crow wasn’t idle for long. He devised a plan to kidnap princesses from other kingdoms. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with the other kingdom’s heroes OR their villains.
Two of the various kingdoms in Nefarious Crow can villainize.
While the majority of Nefarious’s gamplay doesn’t break any new ground, it still offers its players a nostalgic trip down old school platforming lane. As Crow, you punch and shoot your way through each stage’s various obstacles and unique environmental hazards. There are also coins to collect, hidden areas to discover and a villainous arsenal of weapons to upgrade along the way.
Each kingdom has it’s own unique art style and theme
One of the few unique gameplay elements Nefarious does offers its players are the reverse boss fights. These crazy, and often times silly, battles against the different kingdoms’ heroes was something I looked forward to in every level. While some of the boss fight controls didn’t function as well as I would have liked, once I got the hang of them the rest of the fight went smoothly. Controlling Crow’s wrecking ball of doom or his giant punching robot really made me feel like a villain. I finally wasn’t the little guy against the world. I liked it.
Another fun element I liked in Nefarious was the dialogue. Crow gives all his royal prisoners free roam of his flying fortress. You’re able to talk to them as well as your crew, at your leisure. Get in the habit of doing this as each person and crew member usually has something new to say, typically pertaining to their relationship with Crow, at the end of every stage. As the game progresses, you’ll notice Crow’s bond strengthening with the person he kidnapped. I actually really enjoyed watching the Stockholm syndrome unfold as I played through the game.
Crow’s Number 2 acts as his ever present voice of reason.
Nefarious ended up being a fun albeit average game on all accounts. The unique plot and interesting boss fights Nefarious provides was simply not enough to outshine its rather vanilla platforming gameplay. The only time I ever really felt like a villain (which is what this game is suppose to be all about) was during the reverse boss fights. Outside I those, I could have been any one on a quest to do anything. But don’t get me wrong here, I still had fun playing Nefarious and you might too! It just won’t blow you away with its hero-villain role reversal concept.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Gameplay - 7/10
Plot - 6/10
Design - 8/10
While it doesn’t offer the full villain experience, Nefarious still provides its players with traditional platforming gameplay, solid dialogue and enjoyable (reverse) boss fights to boot.