Trip World
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy
  • Developer:
    • Sunsoft
  • Publisher:
    • Sunsoft
  • Released:
    • JP 11/27/1992
    • UK 1993
Score: 75%

This review was published on 11/03/2016.

Trip World is a side-scrolling platform video game published and developed by Sunsoft for the Game Boy. It was originally released in Japan on November 27, 1992, and Europe in 1993. Evidence suggests it may have been planned to get a release on the Famicom Disk System, but that never happened. Like the previously released U-four-ia: The Saga and Mr. Gimmick, both of which were also developed by Sunsoft, this game failed to come out in North America, and it was only available in the other regions in limited quantity. As a result of that, it sold poorly, but that's by no means an indicator of its quality. Sunsoft was at its prime in the early 1990s, developing many great 8-bit platform games on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom, like the aforementioned U-four-ia and Mr. Gimmick, in addition to other greats like Blaster Master and Journey to Silius. The company also made a fair amount of licensed Batman games on the NES and Game Boy that broke conventions by actually being good. Not everything Sunsoft made back then was good, but most of it was. Having also come from Sunsoft's golden years, Trip World is another one of the developer's good games.

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Booting up the game will prompt a short, beautifully rendered cinematic that reveals the story. As its title implies, the game is set in a trippy world appropriately known as Trip World. Here resides a furry creature that goes by the name of Yakopoo, who is a member of the bunny-like Shabubu race. Yakopoo lives together with his grandfather on a holy mountain called Mount Dubious, where the sacred Maita Flower is located. This flower holds magical power and it's used to keep the land peaceful, so Yakopoo's grandfather has accepted the duty of guarding it from wrongdoers. Out of nowhere, a shadowy figure appeared and violently assaulted Yakopoo's grandfather, stealing the flower shortly thereafter. Without the flower of peace, the denizens of Trip World all grew restless and began quarreling with each other. Now it's up to Yakopoo to get the mystical Maita Flower back in order to restore peace to Trip World.

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Sunsoft excelled at maximizing the capabilities of whatever hardware it developed for, creating graphics that would blow away all the competition. This is seen clear as day with Trip World, which has some of the best visuals the monochrome Game Boy has to offer. Highly detailed backgrounds, foregrounds, and sprites decorate the wonderful land of Trip World. The animations are also fairly advanced, breathing life into all the denizens that live within Trip World's wondrous world of wonder. Almost nothing was recycled, as most art assets and animations only appear once in the whole game. This shows that absolutely no shortcuts were taken in the visual department. Stylistically, the graphics strongly resemble a Nintendo developed Game Boy title named Kirby's Dream Land, which also came out in 1992. There's no relation between them, but they both feature overly cute graphics with adorable protagonists, and even more adorable enemies. Oh, and the music's quite good, too.

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Pressing on the d-pad makes Yakopoo walk around, hitting the A button causes him to jump, and gently tapping the B button will get him to do an adorable kick. However, there's a lot more the little guy can do. Specifically, he has the ability to transform. Right off the bat, the guy has access to two different transformations; holding up and pressing B changes him into a winged creature that can fly by repeatedly tapping the A button, and pressing the B button while holding down transforms him into a fish that can quickly swim through water and shoot bubbles. He can acquire special power-ups to change his body in even more ways, like sprout a flower on his head that allows him to shoot paralyzing seeds at enemies, grow a large tail that can be swung to attack baddies, and even become a bouncing ball. Some of the power-ups can be combined to produce entirely new effects, such as cause Yakopoo to grow legs and grant him the ability to shoot deadly projectiles. All the power-ups only last for a short period of time, though. At any rate, being able to transform into different stuff is cool.

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Upon initial inspection, the game will look a lot like Mr. Gimmick, which itself looks a lot like Kirby. However, this game has more in common with Kirby than Mr. Gimmick. You see, despite Mr. Gimmick's cute exterior, it's a ridiculously difficult game. Trip World's difficulty level is more comparable to Kirby, meaning it's ridiculously easy. In fact, it's even easier. One big reason this game is so easy is because the vast majority of enemies won't attack or even hurt you. Most baddies will harmlessly push you around when they run into you, and if you jump onto their heads, you'll usually be taken for a leisurely ride. You can still kill most of these foes, but it's typically not necessary, and will sometimes work against you, as attacking certain docile enemies will turn them hostile. Due to that, this game is more about appreciating the environments and unique creature designs than overcoming tumultuous challenges. That may not be for everyone, though. If you want a game that has more teeth to it, then Trip World will definitely leave you tripping.

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Most stages are fairly linear affairs, as Yakopoo walks, jumps, swims, and flies across landscapes of varying descriptions. Many stages go in a zigzag motion, making you move right until you fall down a hole that then forces you to go left; rinse and repeat until you reach the end of the stage. Some of the later stages do have branching paths, though. In addition to the usually passive enemies, there are occasionally hazards like spike pits, which do hurt you. The environment is generally more dangerous than the enemies, though sometimes enemies can haplessly push you into harmful stuff. Occasionally, there'll be bodies of water or tricky platforming, and these are the situations wherein Yakopoo's transformations will come in handy. It's still possible to get through most of these sections just fine as his base form, though. The nearly total absence of danger makes the game feel more like a series of playgrounds rather than a set of stages. For example, you'll encounter a harmless creature riding a ball in one stage, and you can kill him, steal his ball, and play with it. It's pointless, but fun.

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The only truly challenging part of the game is the boss battles. The bosses are large and, unlike most enemies, will actually fight back. Unless you have one of the power-ups that give Yakopoo access to better offensive abilities, the only attack you'll have at your disposal is his puny kick. It's enough to get the job done, but its small range can be a big problem. The bosses are still mostly all easy to take out, with the exception of the final boss, who's actually pretty hard. This is likely the only time you'll ever see Yakopoo's very Mega Man-like death animation and the Game Over screen. In the rare event you exhaust all your lives and obtain a Game Over, you can access a stage select by pressing the select button on the title screen; no fancy codes required.

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It's not quite on par with some of Sunsoft's very best, but it remains one of the better games from the company's catalogue. This is also one of the better games in the Game Boy's catalogue. It's got outstanding graphics, spiffy music, solid controls, amusing transformations, and has the potential to provide some casual, laidback entertainment. That entertainment is perhaps a little too casual, however, because the game is nearly devoid of challenge. As long as that doesn't bother you, then this game is worth a look. So yeah, this review is done. Don't trip over a world on your way out.

Word Count: 1,336

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