16-bit vs reality is the first release by Weird Stuff Studio, and I can only hope that it’s not the last. I decided to give this game a try based on the seemingly high quality and the low player count, and I have absolutely no regrets.

Sn30 pro

To start, I was immediately thrown off starting the game to find that my mouse did nothing and the controls seemed un-intuitive. I don’t play platform games regularly and when I do, I usually use a controller, So I decided to use an Xbox controller. Quickly after realizing that I was going to have to use the d-pad, I said “why not go for the full retro experience”. I rummaged through the boxes in the garage and pulled out my Sn30 pro.  After a short time figuring out how to make the controller work with my computer, I was ready to start.

 The first couple of levels of the game are simple, learning the basics of how the shift between reality and the 16-bit verse alters the environment. It does not take long to get used to the player mechanics; they feel natural without any strange behaviors that some games seem to be plagued with. The enemies are considerably basic, simple sentry mechanics walking back and forth, shooting, or charging at you if they see you in their line of sight. As the game progresses it makes it clear the enemies are not the challenge, the level mechanics are.

As I continued to play I found myself realizing that this game was more than what I expected. It’s significantly longer and significantly harder than I thought. The real challenge of the game starts with the second boss. With no health bars or expectations as to what I would be dealing with, It took some time to beat. The “other player” boss as I call it, had stages of increasing difficulty, immunity frames after each hit, and mechanics that once finally beat felt like a real accomplishment. The game’s difficulty only got harder after that point.

At many points, I felt like it was beyond my ability to complete a level, much of the game felt like trial and error, although I feel like a much more skilled player would have significantly less difficulty on some of the points where I found myself dying repeatedly.

Early on, the special ability to change into a 16bit universe is underutilized, it seems almost as if its only needed to clear basic obstructions to your progression. Later in the game I found the use of the switching to be interesting. Since it has a limited amount of time It can be used, some of the more challenging portions require you to complete areas before you run out of 16bit juice.  Other times It was used to find secret collectable items that I’m still not sure do. Much later in the game switching into the 16bit verse is used frequently as it becomes one of the tools used to traverse areas as fans and wind push you around or platforms spaced just enough apart require you to alternate mid air to land on them.

Where the game lacks in diversity of enemies it makes up for in map mechanics as each new level (after the first few) feel like a new challenge to overcome. The levels can be long, so when you lose all your lives and having fully start over from the beginning of one can feel soul crushing, especially when you finally get through a point that you have been struggling with for what feels like an eternity.

The negatives:

For some strange reason though the game is not buggy or really lacking in content, it feels unfinished. If it weren’t for my determination of completing the game and giving the new developers a fair opinion, I would have stopped within the first 30 minutes and refunded it. The beginning of the game feels like wasted time, due to dull enemies and no map creativity besides a few Easter eggs and memes. It was not until after the second boss that the game really started to pick up.

The thing that really irritated me the most besides my lack of skill, was that you have an awesome blaster attached to your arm, that during the whole game, acts as a pea shooter requiring 3 shots on normal enemies and 6 shots on the security guards. There is never any upgrade excluding the power shot that can be picked up scarcely throughout the levels.


Overall I think this game is very fun and challenging. The art stylings are pleasing. The progression feels gratifying though at some portions it felt masochistic to continue. Yet seeing the ending credits felt like an achievement that was well deserved. If you can find this game on sale, I strongly recommend picking it up, especially if you enjoy challenging old school platformers.

The game is currently available on Steam for $12.99.