Started in 2002 and released in January of 2012, Abobo's Big Adventure is a lovingly crafted tribute to the Nintendo Entertainment System era of gaming, the 8-bit days of pixellated characters, sprite flickering, and chiptune music that evokes warm feelings of nostalgia within those of us of a certain age.
A completely free browser (or downloadable) game, Abobo's Big Adventure sees you playing as the titular character, a bad guy from the original Double Dragon (you know, that huge dude who bursts through a wall in order to slap you about). Here he is on a mission to rescue his kidnapped son, Aboboy.
This means traversing multiple levels based on a varied selection of NES games while battling hundreds of familiar (and not so familiar) characters. Without spoiling the surprise too much, you will enter the worlds of Double Dragon (naturally) Zelda, Contra, Urban Champion and Balloon Fight. You will meet Kid Niki, Ryu Hayabusa, Karnov, Bubble Man, and many more. If these names are recognisable to you then you are guaranteed to enjoy this game.
Each game Abobo parodies lasts just the right amount of time, enough to feel involved but without overstaying its welcome. It is a humorous parody that never wears thin or feels like you are being bombarded with references (like the recent RetroCity Rampage). The graphics are, of course, wonderful, borrowing many sprites and backgrounds from the huge NES game collection.
The difficulty is set just right, not brutally hard like some of its inspiration, but giving you a challenge that feels satisfying to play through. The main drive being to see which game you will be playing in next. There are a set of achievements too which give the game added replayability, but really this is a one trick pony. The enjoyment comes from recognising the games you had as a kid, or the joy of fighting a Mega Man boss in a Super Mario World level (for example). It is simplistic, good old fashioned gaming at it's best.
I have had a great deal of fun with humorous or 'parody' games of late, what with this, Retro City Rampage, and the excellent Super Amazing Wagon Adventure. It is gaming with it's tongue firmly in cheek, and offers an enjoyable alternative to the, often po-faced gaming experiences on offer. Maybe these games will open the flood gates to a whole genre of high quality games that make you laugh as you play. I certainly can't remember this combined feeling since the glory days of point and click adventure games, where Day of the Tentacle and Sam & Max Hit The Road had gamers laughing as they played.
Abobo's Big Adventure is short, free, and simple. But sometimes this is just what we need. A breath of fresh air from the time consuming games we see released nowadays. For anyone with fond memories of the Nintendo NES, I urge you to head over to the official site and try it for yourself.