Save Me, Mr. Tako (Switch, PC)

With titles like Shovel Knight and The Messenger, 8-bit NES styled games are all the rage.  But you don’t see too many retro revivals in the style of the old black and white Game Boy.  Which is a little strange since that handheld produced a lot of classics like Super Mario Land, Tetris, Kirby, and even Pokémon!  Heck, my number one favorite Zelda game: Link’s Awakening, was on the Game Boy.  But now comes Save Me, Mr. Tako, which is styled just like a Game Boy game and could’ve been a real classic had it been released back then.  You play as (mostly) an octopus named Tako (Tako is octopus in Japanese).  The humans and octopuses are at war, but when Tako rescues a human girl, he must decide which side to stand for, and save the world in the process.  The game plays like a 2-D platformer, similar to titles like Kirby or Starfy (but much harder).  It’s available to download on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

Tako can run, jump, and shoot out ink to freeze enemies for a few seconds.  Stunned enemies can be jumped on to give Tako a ledge to jump from to reach higher areas, kind of like how Samus uses ice missiles in Metroid.  You’ll choose stages from hub worlds similar to Kirby, but sometimes you’ll explore towns, talk to people, and venture into dungeon mazes, giving the game a more RPG feel.  Tako can wear hats to give him and edge and change his abilities, too.  Some are just quest items and let him talk to certain people, while others change his attacks and movements to be fast, or shoot out different projectiles.  Most work like the ink does, though.  You also have an ink meter that you must watch out for.  If you run out of ink, you’ll have to wait for it to refill again or collect drops of ink in the levels.  Sometimes you’ll also play as other characters, even humans, with their own abilities.  You can also change the screen size and background colors, like a Super Game Boy.

There are a lot of things to like about this game, but there are also tons of problems with it, too.  Jumps are a little floaty, and while this works to your advantage most of the time, sometimes it doesn’t.  This is also one of those ‘one hit and you die’ games, which annoys me personally.  Granted you can get hats that let you take more hits, but it still frustrates me, especially since the game gets much harder later on.  Goals and objectives are usually pretty clear, but there are a few times you may not know where to go.  And if you pick up this game after not playing it for a while, good luck remembering what to do next!  The overly complicated story doesn’t help either.  They also don’t give you good instructions on certain gameplay aspects.  You can collect feathers and jewels in the levels.  I figured out that feathers give you lives, and jewels can let you buy lives, but what does that box that shows your hat icon do?  Is it a reserve hat?  I don’t know.  But the biggest offender is the game-crashing bugs.  I encountered three right in a row near the end of the game (in Belys’ Temple if anyone is wondering).  When games freeze up on me, I give them the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule, and unfortunately this game surpassed that.  Which is a shame because I really would’ve played this game all the way through, problems and all.

Kid Factor:

Save Me, Mr. Tako is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Language.  You mostly shoot monsters with ink, but sometimes you can dispatch them with knives and swords, but they just fall off the screen upside down when defeated.  Sometimes Tako can encounter dead people with spears sticking out of them.  In the text, words like ‘damn’ show up from time to time, and other mature themes come up like drag queens, but very infrequently.  But really the best reason why this game is better for older players is the high difficulty, even on the ‘easy’ setting!

One Response to “Save Me, Mr. Tako (Switch, PC)”

  1. I had my eye on this, maybe I’ll wait and see if the bugs are addressed with a patch.

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