Sunsoft Is Making a Comeback- Three Titles Announced

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Regarding third-party, published games for the NES are concerned; Sunsoft was right up there with Konami and Capcom. Perhaps best known for Blaster Master (which has seen a healthy resurgence in the past couple of years with a brand new franchise), they also brought us some of the best-licensed games for the platform. Batman and Gremlins 2: The New Batch weren’t just solid titles- they pushed the NES to its absolute limit in the visual and sound departments. Sunsoft’s name was also tied down to the Aero the Acrobat series, which has garnered a cult following not unlike Earthworm Jim and Bubsy. By the end of the 16-bit generation, however, Sunsoft faded into obscurity. Aside from the Blaster Master, as mentioned above, their catalog of games hasn’t seen any rereleases or remasters. That’s all about to change.

On August 18th, Sunsoft held a digital event on Youtube announcing their return along with three rereleases of some of their lesser-known titles. Although I would’ve welcomed an Aero the Acrobat collection with open arms, these are still some solid titles. I can guarantee most of you had never seen or played these before, thanks to them being Japanese and Europe exclusives when they initially launched.

Ikki Unite was a roguelike for the Famicom well before indie developers had a fetish for the genre (seriously…you could kill a horse with the amount released in the past five years), beating out even Toejam and Earl by quite a few years. It’s set to arrive on PC later this year and will boast a 16-player online co-op.

Mr.Gimmick is about as obscure as it gets for NES/Famicom platformers and fetches quite a high price, thanks to being a post-SNES release. Nevertheless, it featured a Kirby-like character with a unique star tossing ability that doubled as an attack and mode of transportation. Don’t let the cutesy appearance fool you, however. This game is not the same breezy platformer as Kirby’s Adventure. That mechanic mentioned above gets pushed to the absolute limit, along with instances of twitch platforming, even in the very first stage. It’ll hit all major platforms later this year as Gimmick! Special Edition, including all of the features you’d expect from an 8-bit rerelease and some, added “quality of life” features.

Ufouria: The Saga (or Herbereke overseas) was another one of the publisher’s obscure platformers released late into the Famicom’s life. Whereas Mr. Gimmick was a tradtional A to B sidescroller, Ufouria was an early Metroidvania featuring a trio of three alien creatures with their own unique abilities. Outside of the Wii’s Virtual Console service, it never saw a proper North American release. It’s coming to all major platforms sometime in 2023.

All in all, this is an excellent start to Sunsoft’s resurgence. I can’t speak for Ikki as I’ve never played it, but the latter two titles are worth your time if obscure, cutesy Japanese sidescrollers are your thing. I was genuinely hoping for some full-scale remasters of these games when I first heard about the digital showcase but considering Sunsoft has “more on the way,” I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Aero The Acrobat: (insert witty spin on “remastered”) Collection

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