Advocate for Sega. Fan of the 90s.
Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X
June 24, 2021
Merge Games, Janken Team
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is actually the first game I remember playing in my entire life. For gamers of a certain generation, we cut our teeth on the SEGA Master System where Alex Kidd in Miracle World came built-in. Alex Kidd was SEGA’s mascot before Sonic arrived on the scene and consigned him to the dustbin of history. Which is a bit of a shame, really.
History aside, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that Alex Kidd in Miracle World was going to be remade. The original is a fantastic game and certainly one of the greatest platformers of all time, but thinking back it was a bit on the tricky side and the whole three lives and back to start system was a little intimidating. But hey, 6-year-olds could beat it back in the day, so surely I can too.
I may as well just say it now, from the moment you take control of Alex, it is evident that developers Jankenteam and Merge Games have done an incredible job with Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX. They have managed to thread the needle and create something that sits perfectly between a remake and a reimagining. The feel of the game and the responsiveness of the controls are just so spot on and so familiar.
All of the original levels are just as you remember them, but with slight changes. There’ll be an enemy moved or removed here and there because where they were placed originally was a tad unfair in the first place. Some of the bosses have been remixed as well. In Alex Kidd, the henchmen are Paper Head, Scissors Head and Rock Head. The first time you meet them you have to win a game of Paper Scissors Rock, but it’s the second time you meet them when things get serious and it’s on like Donkey Kong.
Back in the day, the aforementioned bosses’ heads would fly off and around the screen and you would have to try and get your punches in whilst remaining safe, it was a bit of a nightmare scenario. But in Alex Kidd DX, the boss battles have been redesigned with new challenges and new strategies required to win. But just like the original, once you figure out the tricks to doing battle with a boss, it’s pretty easy to make short work of the encounter.
Speaking of figuring out tricks, the thing about Alex Kidd is that it was never an impossibly difficult game like many of its peers back in the day. The difficulty doesn’t necessarily increase as you go on (bosses aside), but all of the levels are unique. This means that you need to employ different strategies and remember different sections of levels to progress further on each play.
I must admit, I got some game over screens early on and almost rage quit on some of the bosses. Eventually though, I got into the groove and had my levels down by my fourth playthrough. Some might say that means the game has become a little too easy, but for me, it created a sense of achievement that was exactly as satisfying as I would have hoped.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX does not contain a rewind feature, it’s not THAT easy. But it has tweaked the original by removing the system whereby a game over would take you all the way back to the start. This is definitely the right thing to do. Starting over from the start was fine in 1989 when it was the only game you owned, but doing that to people in 2021 would just lead to it being put down. Sure, you still lose the money you found and all your items, but you will just start the level over again.
The other benefit of not kicking you back to the start when you game over (trust me you will, a lot) is that this version definitely feels like it was made with some love and the developers want you to see it through to the end. If you are still finding it a bit tricky, you can turn on infinite lives at any point. You retain your items and start from around about the part of the level where you last died. There is no shame in it. Even if you have infinite lives, the game won’t be a walk in the park the first time around.
So, the gameplay is on point and there are some handy updates to the rules. You might have also noticed some of the game’s screenshots. This is obviously not looking like the SEGA Master System version of Alex Kidd. The developers have gone the full chimichanga with the graphics with stunning backgrounds, weather effects and reimagining the enemies.
Quite frankly, this is a stunning little game. Just the attention to detail such as the rain effects when you are in Alex’s helicopter, bouncing off the rotors and casting a shadow. There are some new exclusive levels with some new enemies that fit in so well alongside the originals that you would be forgiven for thinking you remember them being there all along.
You can swap between the new visuals and the classic ones on the fly too, which I definitely recommend doing every now and again just to see how much imagination has gone into this game. Not only that, but the soundtrack is brilliant, a reimagining of the original and it’s just a joy to listen to. Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX just has it all in spades.
The original Alex Kidd in Miracle World is a classic, legendary game. Usually, I am a bit of a purist and 99% of the time I’ll take the original over the remake, just name the game. But this time there are improvements in literally every way, keeping the core gameplay and feel of the original but improving it with some tiny little tweaks, some of which are so complimentary you may not even notice them. The game features brand new, absolutely gorgeous graphics, a fantastic soundtrack and new levels that feel like they could have easily come from the original. I just can’t fault it, and I won’t.
Remakes of true classics are usually cause for some concern, particularly a game that’s almost 35 years old, but this is so much more than just an old game with a new skin. Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX balances perfectly the updates an old game needs whilst still staying true to what made the original such a landmark title. The quirks of the gameplay are all still there, controlling just like the original, although with little tweaks that make the experience even better. The new levels fit so well, it’s pretty, and it sounds good to boot.
If the developers could take on Alex Kidd in Shinobi World next that would be great, please and thank you.