Monday 14 June 2021

Piko Interactive Collection 2 Review (Evercade)


The first Piko Interactive collection was an oddball pick and mix of titles covering a wide range of genres. As a result there was really something for everyone to discover and enjoy. The second collection takes a more focused approach and contains a host of sports based titles. Retro based sports games can be hit and miss though so we weren’t sure what to initially make of the fourteen game line up.

Though there are undoubtedly highlights here we’ll get through the filler first – and unfortunately there is a sizable chunk of it. Winter and Summer Challenge for instance were never that great on first release and now the cramped screen space, confusing controls and unresponsive inputs really have not improved. While it may offer some fun in multiplayer there is very little to draw you back past the initial curious nostalgia.

The two football games here are also disappointing. World Trophy Soccer is slow and cumbersome and just made us wish International Superstar Soccer was an option. Considering we have Sensible Soccer coming it is easily forgettable. Football Madness’ only real claim to fame here is that it’s the first Playstation game to make one of the collections. It’s ok in multiplayer but really it’s a painfully average game despite the power ups and more arcade style of play.

Speaking of painfully average the two Shut Up and Jam games are also included. Once again we found ourselves thinking about much better games set in the genre. NBA Jam this isn’t, and both games feel lose with players having little weight to them and the game seeming too random to really get players to invest the time to develop skills. Again, as a multiplayer option it works much better.

While we are in the realm of American sport it’s fair to say Power Football certainly isn’t up there with the John Madden games either with the whole thing lacking the pace and intensity of the best video game depictions of American Football.  Beast Ball however is a great fun take on the sport with vikings, lizards and other creatures battering each other senseless. It lacks in terms of depth but it’s great for quick sessions. The only real issue with it is that this Mega Drive version of the game isn’t quite as good as the original Amiga version but it does capture the feel of the game well and should keep players returning to it.

Another often overlooked game is Eliminator Boat Duel on the NES which really finds a new lease of life here. In the original game you only have single life with which to complete the championship meaning you have to win every race first time or start again from the beginning. Here though the save state option has made the experience a lot more enjoyable and now players can really take in the mad cap races as you switch from top down to 3D racing views while avoiding obstacles and edging ahead of your opponent. It’s not the only racing game included here either with the painfully average Full Throttle All-American Racing another game that just sort of makes up the numbers.

Of much higher quality is the first GBA game to make its way to the Evercade in Racing Fever. The view may be way too zoomed in but it’s a fun top down racer with a decent selection of cars to choose from and has you racing against three opponents over a decent array of tracks.

The star of the show in this genre though is undoubtedly Top Racer 2 (Top gear 2), which will be a reason for many to pick up the cart. Reasonably pricey to get hold of now it’s an excellent racing game which builds on the solid foundation of the original in the best ways. The campaign is lengthy, the handling is decent and there’s a host of upgrades and things to play around with as you make your way through the races. It comes highly recommended and makes a lot of the less spectacular games included more palatable.

The other main reason to pick up this collection is of course Soccer Kid. Yet another of the Amiga platformers that has jumped to console the little dude certainly has something of a cult following and it’s easy to see why. The faults of many an Amiga platformer are still here such as the loose feeling controls but the main gimmick helps to keep it above its peers. We are of course talking about the football that Soccer Kid uses as his main way of dispatching enemies. Control of it can be a little tricky to begin with but once you’ve worked out how the momentum of it works it’s a satisfying experience belting it at the many caricatured people that inhabit the levels. The level design is also decent throughout and though it does fall into the trap of many an Amiga platformer and descends into frustration in later levels the save states are always there if you need them to help you out.

Overall, the second collection of games from Piko Interactive is hit and miss. Some of these will work much better when the VS makes multiplayer a real option but on the whole there’s a lot of games here living off nostalgia and very little else. That said the cart is still worth picking up due to the inclusion of Soccer Kid and Top Racer 2. Racing Fever, Beast Ball and Eliminator Boat Duel also help to sweeten the package as all are fun and competent games. With this in mind we would still recommend it to Evercade owners – just don’t expect everything on here to be world beating once the nostalgia wears off.


Overall -

Beast Ball                                                             3/5

Eliminator Boat Duel                                       4/5

Football Madness                                            2/5

Full Throttle All-American Racing               2/5

Hoops Shut Up And Jam                                2/5

Hoops Shut Up And Jam 2                             3/5

Power Football                                                  2/5

Racing Fever                                                      3/5

Soccer Kid                                                           4/5

Summer Challenge                                          2/5

Top Racer 2                                                         5/5

Winter Challenge                                             2/5

World Trophy Soccer                                      2/5

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