The heyday of iconic 3D platformers was undoubtedly started in the mid-to-late 90's, where it rode a wave of great success into the mid 00's. That's not to say great 3D platformers are no longer rolling out, but it seems many gamers have fond memories of older titles, especially when 3D initially got big. A title I missed at the time, Voodoo Vince, has made its way onto Xbox One as a lovingly remastered titled from Beep Games.
Most of Voodoo Vince's charm comes from the imaginative world of a distorted New Orleans, Vince's personality, and the game's bright visuals. Even after all of these years, the game's charm and personality shine through without much difficulty. Vince is a wisecracking voodoo doll brought to life from Madame Charmaine's magical zombie powder; he's sent on a mission to rescue her from her archrival bent on using her magical zombie powder to grow in power and take over. In the process, New Orleans (or at least a city that's pretty much New Orleans) is magically warped, turning familiar places into new, crazy areas, and filling them with larger than life enemies.
According to Clayton Kauzlaric, the original creator behind the 2003 title and the main instigator behind the remastered version, the game's graphics went through a complete overhaul. And it shows. It's not simply a rescaled version of an almost 15-year-old game, but rather something you can see truly pop. In all honesty, I was not quite expecting the visuals to be so bright, fun, and crystal clear. I went so far as even to compare old screenshots of the game and the differences are quite notable.
The game is simplistic, but that's to be expected. It's a 3D platformer of the bygone era. While some puzzles make take a few minutes to work out, the bulk of the game is very straightforward and easy to navigate. Being a game aimed towards a younger audience, it works well and actually fits into the overall aesthetic and gameplay. I'd be concerned if the game played out any other way - the comedy and feel are meant for a family friendly approach. Most of the major challenges in the game will come from the occasional boss fight or honesty, trying to collect everything. However, and this is my only real complaint with the game since it is a 3D platformer getting used to the control timing can be tricky. Double jumping isn't a matter of just hitting the A button twice, and sometimes moving the camera to adjust can be annoying. However, these are not game breaking concerns by any means.
Along with the graphical overhaul Voodoo Vince received, the game also received added support for achievements. While not a game changing addition, this is something some players will keep their eyes out for. Other than that, the bulk of the game remains true to the original. There is no additional multiplayer tacked on as an afterthought or anything - really, this is the same 2003 title with a beautiful facelift. Also, you know, back then Xbox Live was just starting, not many games even knew how to incorporate that concept. Yet I was able to download this title. Crazy how things change.
Voodoo Vince is a solid title and something parents and kids will enjoy. It has enough zaniness to keep your attention and, while I'm not a fan of collectibles myself, it doesn't go out of its way to make those a difficult chore. Admittedly, most non-parent adult fans may not be thrilled at the prospect of playing through a game without guns or explosions, but it's charming enough to get by on its own. The story is fun, Vince is a quirky little doll, and seeing a magical take on New Orleans makes for a very good time.
Note: The Voodoo Vince Remastered review is based on a digital Xbox One copy of the game, provided by the publisher.