PAX East 2014: Hands-on: Treasurenauts

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

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Renegade Kid has crafted platformers, puzzle games, racers and shooters. But there’s something a little different about Treasurenauts. By “a little different”, I mean created along the same lines as the Wario Land games. Renegade Kid is attempting something they haven’t done before!

The premise is easy enough to understand based on the footage you see below, but how well is it executed?

The Treasurenauts demo at PAX East 2014 drops you off in a hub world that features four levels. It allowed me to pick my character (among the roster is Max from Mutant Mudds) and weapon of choice. Who you play as has little or no impact, but weapon strengths, weaknesses and accessibility will vary. Rather than make this a cut-and-try impressions piece that reads more like an instruction-manual, I think it may be best if I just describe my experiences with each level:

The Beach level was perhaps the easiest of the four. Enemies were timid and fell to my blade with little or no trouble. I grabbed every bit of loot I could find, and everything I picked up had a name, description and value visible on the bottom screen of the Nintendo 3DS. Loot was…well, everywhere. I double-jumped to reach high areas, wall-kicked when necessary, and found a few secret areas with higher-valued treasures as I made my way through the stage. (In the final version of the game, double-jumping isn’t there from the beginning; it’s unlocked.) Getting hit caused me to lose some of my loot, but it all came out of me akin losing rings in Sonic the Hedgehog. I got most of it back and moved on.

Treasurenauts - Bustin' Up the Beach! | oprainfall Treasurenauts - The Next Level | oprainfall

The Jungle level seemed like a solid step up from the more simple Beach. Enemies got a little more aggressive, and it was harder to keep the loot I collected. I used the gun, though, and attacked enemies from a distance. Eventually, I reached an area of the level that depicted a blade on an otherwise impassable barrier and realized the game would probably be littered with instances like this to encourage everyone to play with all the weapons in order to explore the entire level and find new treasures.

The Cursed level was a haunted area that provided the most challenge. There were plenty of traps, like arrows that shoot out of walls placed right in front of golden treasures, designed to trick players who weren’t constantly on their toes, but everything could be ducked or dodged appropriately. Some traps required more finesse to navigate successfully than others. Enemies took the most effort to dispatch, but the rewards were greater. Still, my favorite (and also least favorite) part of that level were those damned ghosts. You’d be wandering around grabbing treasure, then all of a sudden a giant menacing ghost would start stalking you. It touches you; you’re dead. So you’ve got to haul out of wherever you are and look for a giant orb to strike. Strike the orb in time, and the ghost leaves you alone. Simple premise, but it’s one of those adrenaline pumping moments that makes games like these worthwhile.

Treasurenauts - Mama Crab | oprainfall

Last but not least, there was the Mama Crab. To everyone who wanted bosses in Mutant Mudds: this is probably what they would have looked like. Defeating her was no small feat. Sure, everything boiled down to a simple pattern, but you could only get hit a certain number of times, and the boss had multiple phases. Without spoiling much–Mama Crab is no pushover.

Treasurenauts - Look at all the Loot | oprainfall Treasurenauts - More Loot | oprainfall

The levels I played of Treasurenauts show a steady evolution. They show a game that’s probably much easier than Mutant Mudds in the long-run, but that isn’t afraid to mix things up and offer challenges/secrets every now and then. The game is still confirmed for a Summer 2014 release. For more, follow Renegade Kid or check out their official site.