Pocky the shrine maiden and Rocky the raccoon are back together in Pocky & Rocky Reshrined, a new adventure in the long-running series! As the evil Black Mantle attacks, Pocky and Rocky need to team up once again, this time with some new friends to take on the upcoming challenges.
So is this a franchise that deserves to be resurrected? Or is Pocky & Rocky Reshrined a failed attempt at reviving a classic series? Let’s find out!
For those of you who don’t know, Pocky & Rocky Reshrined originally released in Japan earlier this year, and it is now coming to the West. This is a new entry in the series that follows up on the previous story where Pocky and Rocky stopped the monsters and saved the day! Well, the monsters have returned, but it is not quite as simple as it may seem.
This time, there is a new mysterious bloke draped in a black cloak that is corrupting the monsters and causing them to go wild, so Rocky runs to Pocky asking for help, as the mountains are no longer a safe place for him and his friends. Well, this means that the unlikely duo of Pocky and Rocky is once again needed, and our two adventurers set out on a death-defying journey.
The story is exactly what Pocky & Rocky Reshrined needs to be to bring the series back and show that they mean business. The storytelling is simple and fun, and it never overstays its welcome. These are two strong and courageous heroes that make for a wonderful pairing, and it is awesome seeing them together once again on the Nintendo Switch.
Those new to the Pocky & Rocky franchise may be surprised by its difficulty, as this is a series not known for holding anyone’s hand. Because of that, this new entry in the year 2022 does feel a bit off, as there is no helpful tutorial or any kind of practice mode to help players get a feel for the game and understand its unique mechanics. Honestly, this feels like the only major blemish with the game, and since it is a two-sided issue, it is hard to overlook the oldschool difficulty and lack of modes or options to help ease new players in.
Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is a multi-directional scrolling shooter, so it looks and controls similar to an old Zelda title while it plays like a shoot ’em up. This is why it may be challenging for newcomers, because the combination of the two styles is both unique and hard. You control either Pocky or Rocky (Or other unlockable characters) in a given stage, and their movements are subject to the left joystick while their actions are a melee attack, a ranged attack, a dodge roll, and a limited special attack that either clears the screen or does major damage. It is the perfect amount of controls for a game that throws so much at you, so it is not the most complicated to get used to after dying a few times.
Stages are split up in a very oldschool way, where loads of enemies come at you en route to a mini-boss of sorts before ultimately getting to the stage’s boss. This isn’t always the case, but I hope you understand. As stated before, getting used to everything will take time, and like any shoot ’em up on the market, learning the stages and the order of enemies will become vital in your progress and enjoyment. Otherwise, this game will beat you up and leave you for dead.
There are only 8 stages, but please do not let that fool you. This is a solid experience from start to finish that will entertain fully whether you are playing alone or with a friend. Unfortunately, multiplayer is single-system only, which is a bummer, but it is still loads of fun. Over the coarse of the game, you will unlock more playable characters that you can select in Free Mode, and it is a blast finding fun pairs to use as a team.
What truly stands out in Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is its incredibly beautiful pixel art. Somehow this new entry fills this perfect void between nostalgic SNES graphics and modern-day pixel graphics, and that is a triumphant accomplishment. Everything from the beautifully designed stages to the excellent characters to the storytelling still images, Pocky & Rocky Reshrined just oozes charm and beauty.
As far as the soundtrack goes, it is passable and definitely comes across as a Pocky & Rocky game. The nostalgic sound effects are also a joy to hear, but I would have loved a little more effort put into character sounds and even boss sounds. I understand that the game is going for an oldschool vibe, but that does not mean you have to neglect certain modern advancements that could have made this particular department even better. Despite all of that, the sound is fine, but it sounds way too similar to the original games.
Overall, Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is an excellent oldschool action title that will challenge any player. It may not be the most suitable for casual gamers, but this is a reminder of days when games didn’t hold hands but rather pushed to the limits. This is a gorgeous game that tells a wonderful story, and it loads of fun whether you are playing alone in Story Mode or with a friend in Free Mode.
I know the price may be a bit intimidating, but there is a lot of game here and the multiple difficulties help to create a more relaxed experience or a proper challenge. For those looking for that oldschool, familiar gaming trial, Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is exactly what you need, and even if you aren’t, this is still an excellent release in 2022.
Let’s only hope that sales are impressive so that we get more of these in the future, because I need more Pocky & Rocky in my life.
Pocky & Rocky Reshrined Review provided by Nintendo Link
Publisher: Natsume (Digitally), ININ Games (Physically)
Developer: TAITO, NatsumeAtari
Release Date: June 24th, 2022
Price: $29.99, £26.99, €29,99
Game Size: 1 GB
Great proper sequel and fun story
Stunning pixel graphics
Solid oldschool challenge
No tutorial or practice mode
Difficulty may intimidate casual players
What's Your Reaction?
My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.