Imagine you’re back in the 90’s, ready to kick back, relax and play your favourite sidescroller. Unfortunately, we’re very much in 2021, a confusing world full of doom and gloom, that also happens to be in the midst of a global pandemic. As such, many (myself included) are yearning for a nostalgia hit from a simpler time, and thankfully Mighty Goose — a side scrolling run and gun shooter, does a sound job at scratching that wistful, nostalgic itch.
This debut game from Blastmode sees you take up the role of a badass goose who is on a mission to defeat the sinister Void King. Your role is to blast (and most importantly, honk) your way through the various planets that you find corrupted by the evil Void King’s army.
Now, before you get to actually playing, you may find yourself utterly fixated by the catchy ‘synth-jazz hybrid’ tunes that greets you on the start screen. However, it’s not only this intro jam that’s a bop, as the soundtrack throughout this arcade shooter (composed by Dominic Ninmark of Blazing Chrome and Moonrider fame) is pretty amazing, nailing a certain 80s vibe, and acting as a superb companion to the overall style. I had my volume on high throughout my playthrough.
So, upon getting started, we’re given a brief introduction to the Mighty Goose himself — a bounty hunting bird decked out with an impressive mech suit. Soon enough, we’re off to rescue our helpful buddies, fighting a horde of robot and bug enemies as we try to save the day.
The first level shares a series of pop-up tips on how to control your goose, with advice on how to fire your guns, make use of your secondary weapons, and utilise your special ‘ultimate’ ability. This ultimate special move, which you build up over time, sees you enter a ‘Mighty Goose’ mode. This turns you into a raging honking maniac, with enhanced abilities, invincibility, and even fire sizzling out the top of your fowl head.
The core gameplay of running and shooting down baddies at chaotic speed feels really smooth, with snappy controls resulting in a simple but satisfying arcade experience.
Through each level you unlock upgrades, new companions, and secondary weapons, all of which you find in your armory (accessible in the menu before you jump into your next mission) offering you the chance to custom build your loadout to whatever suits you best. Your loadout offers a few different ways to enhance your mech (making you faster, stronger, etc) — which gives you a few alternative ways to approach any given level.
In addition to a bad-ass arsenal, your Mighty Goose can also hop in a vehicle. These include both land and air vehicles, offering a welcome bit of speed and even more destruction to the gameplay. A goose in a spaceship blasting his way through the pixelated levels is a sight to behold.
Downing enemies gets you coins to collect, and saving these up can prove beneficial — as there is also a shop incorporated into the menu, where you can instantly buy weapons and vehicles to help you along. I found this handy, as if you’re dying a few times to a big boss, you can hop into the shop, load up weapons (be it a machine gun or rocket launcher) and blast on.
Getting through all of Mighty Goose won’t take too long, I was surprised to have it all done in around two hours. To extend the play time there is a new game plus mode: you get to play through all nine levels again, at a harder difficulty. Sadly the challenge on offer here isn’t particularly difficult, not differing too much from the base game. The enemies are a little more tougher to fight, and the screen filling bosses are a bit more powerful, but there’s no changes visually or to the scant story. It’s a nice addition, but doesn’t really add much.
All told, Mighty Goose is a fairly straightforward package, but one that’s got plenty of pixelated nostalgic charm and honk humour. It doesn’t out stay its welcome, or really evolve beyond what’s initially presented — but it’s vibrant, chaotic and does a good job of nailing the basics. It’s a slice of silly fun that, although not particularly impactful, definitely feels like a good fit for the Nintendo Switch and a fine enough way to kill a few hours with a bit of solid arcade fun.
A badass goose with a gun — a recipe for a honking good time.