Today’s Nintendo Direct was a good one for fans of retro platformers: Castlevania Advance Collection was announced and released, but arguably more exciting is the re-emergence of Actraiser. Originally released in 1990, Actraiser is a unique blend of platforming and city-building. It’s a bit of a cult deep cut, so it’s surprising that Square Enix has not only exhumed it, but delivered something close to a full remake.
Actraiser Renaissance boasts “remastered” 2D graphics, which is a bit of an understatement because they look thoroughly redrawn. It also features an “upgrade” to Yuzo Koshiro’s soundtrack, by Koshiro himself, but you can stick to the original score if you like. As is typical for retro remakes nowadays, Actraiser Renaissance also adds a save game feature, as well as new difficulty levels.
The graphics have definitely been redone with modern tech (check out footage of the old SNES game below), and unlike the likes of Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to toggle between the old pixel art and the new. A slight disappointment, given that the original game is only available on SNES and as a weird 2004 mobile phone port.