Friday, May 4, 2012

Johnny Upgrade

Upgrades are a staple of most video games. Makes sense, too - your character should be rewarded with expanded powers as he or she plows through increasingly difficult areas. But what if you could do almost nothing WITHOUT upgrades? What, indeed, if purchasing upgrades was necessary for your hero to perform the most rudimentary tasks?

Welcome to Johnny Upgrade.


Johnny Upgrade is a superhero. Some evil boss thing has invaded his world, and he needs to drive it, and its fiendish minions, away. Problem is, Johnny Upgrade begins his life UTTERLY INCAPABLE of doing anything. He can't walk, he can't jump, he can't take more than one hit, hell, he can't live longer than roughly three seconds before exploding. Tough life, has Johnny Upgrade.

What's a lad to do in this situation? Duh. Upgrade. The game is based upon the premise that, every time Johnny dies, the player is taken to a shop screen for upgrading Johnny's abilities. Gather enough coins on each play-through and Johnny will ultimately be able to double jump, take five hits worth of damage, dash at incredible speeds and use a blaster to zap his foes.

This, of course, means that you have to die. A lot.


Johnny steers via the arrow keys or ADW. Eventually the Space bar will allow Johnny to fire his gun. Nice and easy, and Johnny is extremely responsive to player input. You shouldn't have any difficulty with cheap deaths... once you've upgraded Johnny, that is.


Immediately after I began playing, Johnny Upgrade reminded me of an old SNES game called Captain Novolin. Upon FURTHER investigation, they don't look the same at all, aside from a slight similarity between the two title characters. I do not think Johnny Upgrade is diabetic, though that could explain his exploding fits.

All that is a ROUNDABOUT WAY OF SAYING that Johnny Upgrade looks like an SNES game. A really good SNES game. The visuals were great. It's a shame they're the same each time you play through, but, oh well.


Not much to say here. You get a small handful tunes, none of which are terribly memorable. I liked the boss song best, which is best suited to a sinister discotheque. Sound effects beyond the music are the usual range of explosions and hearty grunts.

Challenge Rating

Johnny Upgrade should take anywhere between ten and twenty minutes to complete. There's only one level, and once you've upgraded Johnny to action star status not even the boss is terribly challenging. I would like to see this concept expanded upon in some fashion, because this game seems more like a solid base for something greater than a true stand-alone title.


Johnny Upgrade is a fun, playable platformer that you'll likely shred and forget within the span of half an hour. Worth playing, but not likely to make a massive impression on anybody.


No comments:

Post a Comment