When I read that Bacon Man: An Adventure was an action-platformer in the vein of Mega Man X, Rayman, and Earthworm Jim, I was all too willing to bite. Mega Man X is quite possibly one of the best games ever (and one of my personal favorites), so I was ready to dive into some slick running and gunning against equally matched foes.
After playing the 15 minute alpha, I can say that Bacon Man: An Adventure is not much at all like the games it pays homage to, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The alpha begins with a brief cutscene that introduces us to the first game world, The Freezer, as well as our antagonist, the Pork King. After a few bits of dialogue, the eponymous Bacon Man is thrown into a pit where he must battle his way through ice-themed landscapes and enemies. I know what you’re thinking: “An ice world is the first level of the game?” Fortunately, the slippy-slidey physics are kept to a minimum, so you can focus on the platforming.
Once I gained control of the character, the first thing I noticed was the lack of D-Pad control. The control stick is certainly functional, but I prefer to play platformers with the D-Pad, so I hope the final build supports it.
The first few screens introduce the core concepts of the game. Namely, running, jumping, fighting, and shooting. All of this is taught through non-invasive text that appears from a “Ghost Bacon Man” that shows off the moves at your disposal. One mechanic that I found interesting was the ability to use attacks as part of the player’s movement. Performing an upwards knee jab launches your character high in the air. Doing a series of aerial kicks can levitate you over gaps too large to jump over. Firing down with Bacon Man’s Toaster Gun gives you a small upwards boost. Small movement tech like this can really give you an edge in tough platforming sections.
Still, this is just an alpha, and there are some flaws in the woodwork. For example, any segments involving creating ice bridges over water end up frustrating due to the awkward trajectory of Bacon Man’s throws. Combat is fine against minor baddies, but going up against stronger enemies feels like a chore. One large enemy with a shield was especially confusing. I couldn’t figure out where his hitbox was, so it became a process of just hurling every attack at my disposal at him until he went down.
As for puzzles, there’s only one, and it’s right at the very end. If you time it right you can walk right through it without actually having to solve it.
Visually the game is very unique. It’s dark, neon, and not at all what I usually associate with platformers or bacon. But it’s memorable for sure. The soundtrack is also pretty cheesy. It’s sweeping, majestic, and altogether silly in this context. I think the only thing that still could use some comedic upheaval is the dialogue in the cutscenes. It’s not bad, it just feels like a placeholder.
Overall, Bacon Man: An Adventure shows a lot of promise to be an interesting, fast-paced game. With some fine-tuning, I think this will definitely be something to look out for when it releases. It doesn’t look and feel so much like a 90s platformer, but more like the hidden gems from Xbox Live Arcades indies section during its golden age. And if your game reminds me of Comic Jumper, you must be doing something right.
Check out the Bacon Man Kickstarter here.