In this generation of consoles, downloadable content has been a key factor on how us gamers interact with our favorite hobby. No longer do games have to cost upwards of $40 and last us several hours in order for us to feel satisfied with our purchase. Ever since Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 and introduced the Xbox Live Arcade we’ve become accustomed to spending a few bucks for small games that provide us with quick thrills, a perfect example of which is Pole’s Big Adventure for the Japanese WiiWare Store. Back in the 8-bit generation Sega made an attempt to release their own platformer in the vein of Super Mario Bros, the result was the birth of Sonic The Hedgehog, almost 20 years later Sega is once again trying to recreate the magic of Mario only this time they’re doing it allot more blatantly in this terrific parody of the 8-bit platforming genre.
Pole’s Big Adventure retains several components from the original Super Mario Bros, including Mushrooms, Koopa Troopas, Pipes and houses at the end of each level (followed by fireworks of course) but the gameplay actually feels a lot more like Megaman requiring you to shoot enemies in their head rather than jumping on them. Pole’s weapon of choice is a riffle which can be upgraded by collecting power-ups, collecting 4 power-ups trebles the amount of bullets you can fire with each shot. Other power-up include a bottle of hot sauce which makes Pole invincible for a short time while he shoots fire from his mouth. The enemies that Pole encounters are an excellent example of the games tongue-in-cheek humor. Sega has been intentionally lazy with several enemy designs by recycling the same grunt over and over only wearing different masks representing what creature they’re supposed to be. The best thing about PBA is the fact that it is seriously funny, by far the funniest game I have ever played. Each of the games 20 levels managed to make me laugh out loud and even my girlfriend who tends to loathe my gaming addiction couldn’t help but watch me play the game in its entirety.
On the surface Pole’s Big Adventure may look a harmless 2D platformer but be warned it’s certainly NOT for kids! Not unless you want your kids to interact with a game that features decapitations, projectile vomiting, exploding organs and massive erections. Yes Pole is a vile game, one that will constantly leave you shocked and smiling at the same time. The shock-factor makes this title difficult to review because most the good parts in the game can be considered spoilers, Pole’s adventure is one you should really experience for yourself rather than read about. But no game is perfect, and almost everyone who plays PBA will be extremely annoyed by a prank in the penultimate level of the game which sends you back to the first level without warning, effectively erasing 45 minutes of progress. This almost ruined the game for me, so heed my warning people; Do not enter any warp pipes in the latter half of the game. Another problem is the game is laughably easy and can be completed in well under an hour, there is the option to re-play the entire thing with more enemies on screen and harder boss fights but during a second play-through most the fun of the game is alleviated as you already know what to expect. Overall Pole’s Big Adventure is a brilliant, cheap little title which delivers more entertainment in 45 minutes than most full games do. I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who has the means to play it, for everyone else pray to the gods at Sega that Pole gets a western release.