That’s four better than Action 52
There’s a big WarioWare-shaped hole in my heart. Mostly because I forgot that Warioware: Get it Together launched in 2021, and I skipped over it due to a lack of wealth. Nonetheless, I’m always interested in alternate takes to the Microgame formula, and my attention has been brought to Super 56 from Onion Soup Interactive. This is what I’m talking about. This is the good stuff. There’s a naked guy with a pompadour on the main menu doing a cobra pose, and the menu items both go into and come out of his butt.
The setup is that you’re a human (try to pretend), and you’ve just made friends with two cosmic horrors that have the newest, hottest game: Super 56. They want you to play it, so they can live vicariously through your meaty button-pressing abilities.
As a side note, I love fictional games on fictional consoles. Like the Death Drive Mk II from Travis Strikes Again or the fake Famicom in Retro Game Challenge. Super 56 lavishly shows a close-up of the game being inserted into the console. It’s like watching someone put parmesan cheese on my pasta.
More. More. More.
The gameplay of Super 56 itself is much like WarioWare. You play through a string of unexplained but simple games, and your job is to adapt and survive. Thankfully, you only have one button to play the entire game. Even making selections on the menu is done through taps and holds, which takes some getting used to just to begin with.
The games are strange, but I feel we established that. They range from driving a go-kart that only turns left (again, one button) to shooting arrows into a guy’s butt – apples! I mean apples. There are some nice callbacks to classic games such as Doom and Sonic the Hedgehog 3. It’s all played beneath a pixel and VHS filter, which I’m always a fan of.
While the main goal here is to climb the leaderboards, there’s also an underlying narrative that unravels as you level up. Even if, like me, you’re not really the competitive sort, there’s a nice framework for playing alone. You can even unlock modifiers that add some variety to later playthroughs. On the other hand, Onion Soup Interactive has done everything in its power to make the whole leaderboard climb an exciting experience. You can deck the hell out of your player card, making your entry on the boards a unique expression.
Apples to apples
While the concept is simple, the execution of Super 56 is spot on. It effortlessly shifts styles while maintaining the same sense of personality. While Onion Soup Interactive is largely a husband-and-wife operation, I have no complaints about the production values here.
The demo has at least proven that Super 56 is right up my alley. My only concern is how long it will be able to keep my attention, but I have no doubt that however long that is will be entirely worthwhile.
Thankfully, I don’t have to wait long to get more of the experience. Super 56 launches into what is intended to be a 3-month long Early Access period on February 20, 2023. For now, I recommend checking out the demo as part of Steam Next Fest.