These days, good side-scrolling shooters a la Gunstar Heroes aren’t exactly represented the best they can be, especially on the Wii, when most games are forced into containing waggle that a good portion of gamers don’t even want. When an old-school game like Eduardo the Samurai Toaster arrives on the scene, I rejoice in its simplicity and its refusal to be anything beyond a standard run-and-gun diversion based on the most base of gaming concepts. It’s nothing exactly fresh, but it carries standard, viable controls, sharp, adorable graphics, and an engaging concept – whoever heard of a samurai toaster?
The beginning of the game upon startup takes the LittleBigPlanet approach and displays creator credits as part of the scrolling scenery that you can read as you pass. Level selection is done upon nearing the end of the credits, where you’ll press the fire button to begin playing. Controls are mapped only to the Wii remote while titled like a classic NES controller, and the buttons you assume to shoot and jump are exactly what you’d expect. Very simple and reminiscent of the retro games of yesteryear.
After selecting a level you’re given no back story – there’s really no plot at all, save for the fact that you are somehow a samurai toaster who has been sent to a land populated with killer vegetables and other assorted baddies. As you attempt to brave the unknown, enemies of all types will attempt to take you out via knives, samurai swords, or simple melee attacks. If Eduardo takes too much damage, it’s obviously lights out. With the amount of enemies onscreen at one time, it’s entirely possible that you can die in a couple of seconds depending on which difficulty you’re enjoying the game on. For the sake of finishing the game for review, I chose the easiest difficulty and unlimited lives. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have made it through all the way!
As Eduardo you’ll slash at the baddies with your keen samurai sword, and often you’ll be graced with powerups such as turbo slashes and even the ability to shoot off pieces of enemies you’ve defeated. It’s hilarious when you’ve just hacked through a yellow, square-shaped enemy and you turn around and release a few hundred of them into the air, hurtling into their comrades. It’s that kind of humor that gives Eduardo its quirky charm.
Each level is marked by reaching an exit point, which is something you’ll be quite grateful for, as these levels can be a nightmare as previously stated. I’d liken it to Alien Hominid in that you must be quite the skilled gamer if you find that you can take down the 5-10 enemies that may be onscreen at any time. I’m eternally grateful for such a forgiving difficulty slider – I’m a bit rusty with the old Contra skills, so I needed that extra help!
The graphics in Eduardo are hand-drawn, with Eduardo’s adorable smiling face the center point of the visuals. He’s always in a great mood, even when being hit! The enemies are not so glad to see him, and range from carrots, onions, to random geometric shapes that I haven’t quite been able to decipher the origin of as of yet. Colors are sharp and clean, and quite pleasing to the eye especially if you’re playing on a high-definition television. As for the sound, quirky and erratic beats pulse through the speakers – you’ll likely be humming battle stages even after you’ve turned off the Wii.
There isn’t too much to say about Eduardo the Samurai Toaster. It’s a simple game in that it requires no prior knowledge of characters, no imprecise motion controls, or unnecessarily difficult areas that you can’t get past without changing the difficulty up a little bit. It’s a throwback to the retro days where you didn’t need flashy graphics, convoluted plotlines, or even explanations in order to simply enjoy the gameplay. While of course I’m grateful for all of those aspects it’s nice to get a heaping helping of retro gaming action now and then. If you’re looking for your next WiiWare purchase to be something a bit bizarre, yet still familiar, then spend some time with your favorite appliance. Look how happy you’ll make him!