The world’s most beloved Gauls are back in a new adventure to stop the Romans’ plans to conquer all of Gaul. Asterix and his entire troupe returned to the gaming world in Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All!, a Beat them up that promises a lot of slaps and punches.
To bring their adventure series into the beat them up genre, Microids brought on a new development team. Independent game developer Mr. Nutz Studio took the lead and helped create Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! for PC via Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch as a series are known for being a 3D adventure game series, changing the genre is a bold move. But did this decision turn out to be good or bad.
Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All is not an innovative game in terms of its core gameplay. It is a beat ’em up clearly influenced by old school titles like Streets of Rage or Final Fight. It’s okay. They needed a template to base an Asterix game on, and a game where you’ll be asked to beat up tons of Romans with a hilarious slapstick is perfect. I’ll get to the gameplay a bit later, but it gets the job done with its controls without feeling innovative or generic.
Asterix & Obelix Story
In the year 50 a. C., the Romans have taken over most of the land of Gaul, as well as a small town of indomitable Gauls that still resist the invaders. Leading the fight against the Romans is the strong-willed fighting duo, Asterix and Obelix. However, this town is not the only one who wants to hold their homeland against the Romans, so they find themselves doing various missions just to keep everything from falling apart.
Created in 1959, Asterix is a beloved French comic character that has seen numerous movie and video game adaptations. While most recent games have been 3D affairs, the recently released Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All by Microids. is a side-scrolling 2D beat them up. Even if you’ve never read an Asterix comic or seen one of the movies, this game is worth checking out for its cute cartoon-style visuals, humorous story, and 2-player local co-op.
Asterix & Obelix Features
Asterix & Obelix: Slap them all! features a long multi-act campaign, with each act adapting one of the comic’s volumes. The game takes place in the time of the Roman Empire. The first act adapts the book Asterix in Great Britain. As the partially voiced cutscenes reveal, the Romans have invaded Britain. A Gallic people dares to fight for independence, so the warriors Asterix and Obelix travel to help the people.
Considering the game’s first act is based on the eighth book in the series, introducing the characters to newcomers like myself wouldn’t have hurt. Still, the writing is engaging and goofy enough that even players who haven’t experienced Asterix before will soon get the hang of things. I especially like the humorous names given to most of the characters: Vitalstatistix, Getafix, Fulliautomatix, and Unhygienix are some of the goofy Gauls who live in Asterix’s village.
Slap Them All-stars a pair of heroes, so gamers have the choice of single-player or co-op. When playing solo, the player can switch between the two characters. Each character has their life meter, so swapping out a character when he is defeated is a strategic option in single-player. At the start of co-op games, the primary player gets to select who plays whom. Dropping in or out of co-op only requires a quick visit to the pause menu, which should come in handy should a co-op partner experience trouble with a more challenging level – more on that later. There is one Achievement/Trophy for starting a co-op game. Sadly, the second player can’t earn Achievements.
Back to 50 years before Christ
The Story of Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! follows the same prologue of all editions of books, comics, and other media. We are in the year 50 BC, the region of ancient Gaul is taken by the Romans. However, a small village of Gauls resists the mighty Roman empire. Yes, the town lives Asterix, Obelix, and other well-known characters from work. In six chapters, we follow Asterix and Obelix performing various tasks to drive out the Romans and help neighboring tribes.
As the game is a beat them up, the story is not its strong point. The focus here is different: the beatings. Non-interactive scenes in comic book form briefly explain what’s going on; soon, we’re thrown onto the battlefield.
Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! follows the beat them up genre playbook. Advance to the right side of the game screen stop beating some opponents until reaching the final point of the stage. At first glance, the game impresses due to the quality of the characters and the scenarios. All very well designed, perfectly conveying the feeling of playing a cartoon. However, it doesn’t take long for things to get “disheartening.” Starting with the gameplay.
When starting the game, you choose between three empty save files, which is also where you select the game’s difficulty. Once you’ve chosen your difficulty and saved file location, choose whether you want to play as Asterix or Obelix. If you play with two players, one player gets each character, but if you play alone, you can switch between these two characters at any point in the game.
Both fighters have a main combo that you will use when fighting: a smash light attack until they land the hit that sends enemies flying back. Pressing the heavy attack will do a power hit, but this will cost you one of your five lightning charges. Of course, those charges are pretty simple to get back as you get them by doing a bunch of damage. Some variations with your attacks, like jumping and using a light or heavy attack.
One of my favorite things to do as Asterix, which helped get me out of moments where I was surrounded, was to grab an enemy and swing them over my head. This takes one lightning charge per swing, but it also makes that enemy hit all the others around me. Obelix has a more direct style grab where he beats that one specific one up unless he does the side-to-side smash, but both characters can throw the captured enemy across this screen. This will make them hit and knock down all enemies across the screen.
You can hit multiple enemies simultaneously, just as you can in most beat them ups. Getting them all together and on one side makes fighting the easiest. You are only knocking enemies out in this game, so you will see them again – especially the bosses you will takedown. As you progress through the game, enemies and bosses gradually get tougher to fight by adding more aggression and more attacks to their fighting style. The more complex the difficulty, the more damage each hit does and the more enemies there will be.
There are plenty of barrels along the journey in this game, though. These barrels are either hiding food or coins. Food will restore one character’s health, which is helpful since it only takes one character to lose all their health for the mission to fail and restart. This goes for both solo and cooperative play, so be aware of the health bars as you have no restarts nor lives – but on that same front, you can’t get a game over; it will always just restart the level for you. If you find coins, collect them quickly as they will disappear. Enemies also drop coins as you fight them, and these are to boost your score that will show at the end of the level.
We have a button for regular attacks, special attacks, jumping, grabbing the enemy, and blocking (the latter practically does not need to be used). The special episode uses energy, represented by small lightning bolts below the health bar. The game has local co-op support, but I couldn’t try it out because I don’t have a second controller. It feels like the homework has been done until you notice the absence of some elements that would be common in another beat them ups.
There are no combo hits. There’s only one combo where you have to infinitely press the standard attack command. A special attack here, another there, just for variety. Okay, all resolved. There are also no interactive objects on the stage. Were you throwing barrels or jars, using enemy weapons, or anything that could serve as a weapon?
Unfortunately, repetition isn’t limited to just using the same commands in combat. Enemies are also repetitive. I’m not talking about how they use the same models with slight differences in color or clothing, but their movements. If you learn the attack pattern from one, you’ve learned it from everyone. There are times when the screen is clogged with enemies, but all in practically the same way. Nothing that is repeatedly smashing buttons won’t fix (I’ll even recommend it to Guido!). It seems the developers have opted for quantity over quality.
Visuals and Sounds
Breaking down the aesthetics, level design, dialogue, overall story, and sound effects can be described as simple as comparing it to Looney Toons. Many of us are familiar with the classic Saturday Morning Cartoons that would play, and on there, we would watch Cartoon Network show various cartoons. This game looks and sounds like it could have been a video game adaptation of a comic from Cartoon Network. Even the fighting was a prime definition of kid-friendly violence.
With the different difficulties and cooperative play options alone, this game has some replayability. Plus, once you beat the game the first time, you unlock Freeplay mode.
Appearances can be deceiving
As already mentioned, Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! It’s a beautiful game, with style reminiscent of a comic book. Everything is very well done, from the movements of each character’s blows to the game’s scenarios. However, the game’s visuals did not escape repetitiveness. Just as the characters are generic, so are the settings. During the game’s chapters, Asterix and Obelix travel through various locations in Europe, but we can count on one hand which of them are different or stand out from each other.
To close the package, some minor bugs are still relatively common in beating them up. Enemies were stuck at the edge of the screen, and there was no way to defeat them so that I couldn’t advance in the adventure, and it was necessary to start the chapter all over again. Looking at the entire glass, these bugs are not that present, but they do occur.
As for the sound, there are not many moments of speech by the characters, only when they give some blows. Do we have repetition here? Yes, we also have recurrence. You can barely hear the background music at various times because your enemies will be giving the same screams of pain as they get hit.
What Could Be Better
Having enemies respawn repeatedly is an excellent way to show that we’re not killing anyone in the game, but it does create a sense of repetition. Fighting the same bosses, every Act wasn’t a good feeling and made progression feel pretty lacking. I was constantly fighting Roman camps, pirate ships, and the like, but couldn’t you think of any number of pirate captains or Roman generals I could go up against?
The fight itself also felt quite directed and direct. I’ve played beat-them-up titles since I was younger, and even with simple controls, there should be the option to mix up your attacks to get different combo styles. The entire gameplay of this game feels like just smashing the light button and grabbing enemies to hit others repeatedly.
Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! is a beautiful title to introduce new players to the beat them up genre! While it isn’t super intricate, it is amicable on the type of violence it portrays. Along with a softer touch in the main field of the game, the story has a nonsensical and comical take to it that even the names of characters show that they don’t take themselves seriously. Giving players room to explore various enemy types of fighting and even a variety of enemy attack styles to match the enemy variety is the basics of what this genre provides.
Opinion about game
Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! could be an excellent opportunity to please fans and those who have never had contact with the series. The neat visuals show that care was taken to deliver an experience faithful to the original work. However, the exhaustively repetitive gameplay spoils any chance for the game to stand out. It will be six long chapters for those who will try to venture into ancient Gaul. Then close your eyes, press the buttons and wait for it to be over.