Treasure Treasure: Fortress Forage: Extra Edition
Available On: Xbox Live Indie Games
Co-Op Mode: Local (2 players)
Price: 80 MS Points ($0.99)
Demo w/ Co-Op Available: Yes
One of the very first games we reviewed on Indie-Ana Co-Op was a game called Protect Me Knight!, a tower-defense, action RPG hybrid with a distinctly NES 8-bit retro style. Anyone who has followed this feature over the past couple of years likely knows I have quite a soft spot for these retro-style games. Treasure Treasure: Fortress Forage: Extra Edition, is such a game, but is it worth playing?
The premise is straightforward: the two protagonists, Troy and Trixie, must work together to discover all of the treasure in an abandoned castle upon which they happened to stumble. There are a total of 21 treasures to find and rather than have them scattered about through a series of levels, all 21 are located in one big level. Trixie and Troy have their own strengths that they employ in order to get all of that loot. Trixie can jump higher than Troy, but Troy can push large boxes around and pick up the bombs scattered throughout. The bombs are used, obviously, to blow things up, specifically, to blow up the various blocks that are scattered throughout (though you only want to clear out certain ones).
If you happen to blow each other up, that’s ok; there’s no death to worry about. Trixie or Troy get a little blackened and puffs of smoke waft off of them, like in a cartoon. Working together for Trixie and Troy, then, means a combination of standing on one another’s heads to try and reach new heights, and employing the duo’s unique abilities to successfully manipulate the objects around you to get to that next treasure chest.
Graphically, the game stands out straight away as it is, without any shame, meant to look like an original Gameboy game. From the olive green tint to the frame around the game screen, the game’s designer has a clear love and fondness for the old handheld system. It’s a style that works very well for this type of a game as it feels like something you might have played back then. All of the game actions, i.e., jumping and picking up bombs (if you’re Troy), are achieved using either the A or B button; nothing else is needed. The music itself, which is charming but a bit repetitive, even has that chiptune sound. It’s a game that is very aware of its roots and inspirations, and embraces them fully.
From a cooperative perspective, much like the upcoming Wyv and Keep, the game was built around having two people play the game. Yes, the game can be played solo, switching back-and-forth between Trixie and Tory, but it just doesn’t feel as satisfying. It feels like something’s missing - like having a friend sit next to you on the couch, then, as you discuss how to get that seemingly impossible to reach treasure. Of course, sometimes working together means having to move apart, and Treasure Treasure: FFEE allows your treasure-seeking duo to do so by employing “dynamic splitscreen.” This trick means that as Trixie moves away from Troy, or vice versa, a sudden line appears on the screen - splitting it, if you will - and the movements of Trixie and Troy are tracked accordingly.
It works well and the lack of “tethering” is quite key in solving some of the puzzles. While the ultimate goal is to collect all 21 treasures and make it to the exit, it is possible to prevent access to some of the treasures. If you’re unable to get one, two, five, or ten of the treasures, then worry not - access to the exit is not denied to you. You can still complete the game and enjoy an ending, you may just have to play through it again to do better the next time; and Treasure Treasure: FFEE is definitely a game that lends itself to replayability.
I stated at the start of all this that any game that evokes, for me, those fond childhood memories of sitting in front of the family TV with an NES controller in hand or, in this case, sitting in the back of the minivan on a long road trip clutching my Gameboy while the miles fly by. Of course, it’s not enough to have the game look like those games of old, it’s got to be fun, entertaining, and worth playing. Treasure Treasure: FFEE is such a game. It evokes that childhood nostalgia with the graphics and music, while challenging the adult portion of my brain to suss out how to get those treasures. In other words, the perfect mix to make for a great gaming afternoon with a friend
Note: There is a PC version of the game available for free to play that supports keyboard or gamepad controls. The graphics and music were both enhanced for the XBLIG version, in addition to adding the dynamic splitscreen feature.
The Co-Op Experience: Work with a friend to make your way around an abandoned castle, gathering all of the treasures along the way
Treasure Treasure: Fortress Forage: Extra Edition is Geared Towards: Puzzle platformer fans