Pharaoh Rebirth+
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 8

Pharaoh Rebirth+ is a Metroidvania style platformer that oozes charm and playability. Even with the low resolution visuals the pixel art remains brilliant and each location is packed with detail. The story is another surprising highlight and you’ll encounter plenty of humor along with interesting twists. You really can’t go wrong with this title if you are a fan of the genre and it manages to shine despite some technical limitations.

Gameplay: The game has a surprising amount of depth for a platformer and plenty of replay value as well.

Graphics: The resolution is rather low, but this doesn’t diminish the brilliance of the pixel art visuals.

Sound: Catchy tunes and decent sound effects

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Pharaoh Rebirth+

Developer: KROBON station / KADOKAWA DWANGO CORPORATION | Publisher: Degica | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Action / Indie Adventure | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Pharaoh Rebirth+ is the rip roaring adventure of Dr. Jonathan Banfield, archaeologist and treasure hunter extraordinaire. Unfortunately, the doctor is not only good at finding long lost treasures, but also getting cursed in the process. This has resulted in him ending up in his current form, which is a rabbit man. Being a fluffy critter with long ears has not diminished his knack for discovery though, so the game opens with Jonathan discovering the legendary oasis of Egypt, Amshear. However, his victory is short-lived as Jonathan, along with his ex-companion Andre Betancourt, end up cursed again. To break the curse they must find the seven holy grails or end up dying at the hands of Sehur The First. Time is of the essence though, as Jonathan only has seven days to complete this seemingly impossible quest.

Since Andre was turned into a reptile by the same curse that hit Jonathan, the game is actually the classic tale of the turtle versus the hare, only with an Egyptian twist. While the two start out as a bitter rivals the game actually features plenty of twists and turns to keep the story interesting. The charming cast of characters also helps to make the tale even more engaging. The banter between Jonathan and Jack, the hacker remotely assisting him, is particularly humorous, but the other individuals you encounter are just as funny. The game even managed to squeeze in a couple of plot twists that we didn’t see coming.

As interesting as the story is, the gameplay is even more important and PR+ certainly does not disappoint in this department. The game is a Metroidvania style platformer, but instead of one huge playing area, it is split up into several levels. As is common in the genre you start out with only the most basic abilities, but as you progress you unlock new skills. You can then return to previously completed levels and put these new skills to good use uncovering areas that used to be inaccessible. For added motivation to search every nook and cranny of the game there are more than 80 collectible treasures to discover. Some provide permanent stat boosts, while others are purely for completion sake. You’ll also find limited use items, such as wine for replenishing SP and carrots that boost strength.

Jonathan’s primary means of attack is his ears, with a powerful ground based whipping attack, and an aerial spin attack that does less damage, but can be chained together. Jonathan also uses his ears for most of his special abilities like folding them into a paper airplane shape to glide or spinning them like helicopter blades to double jump. There are also more than ten sub weapons to find, but using these decreases your SP bar. This bar replenishes slowly over time or can also be charged instantly while standing over save spots. In keeping with the quirky style of the game these sub weapons include a tennis ball shooting machine gun, fireplace soot, and large scythe.

Thanks to the large amount of enemies standing in your way you’ll have plenty of opportunities to put all these weapons and abilities to good use. You’ll be squaring off against man-eating plants, bats, porcupines, mummies, ghosts, electric catfish, barn owls, and many, many others. Even more impressive are the bosses that range from small ones like the conductor and Hapi to the enormous ones like Serket the scorpion. After completing the game you can also square off against these formidable foes again in the unlocked Boss Rush mode.

Visually the game impressed us with its detailed sprites, excellent character designs and brilliant animations. The pixel art looks incredible and is a perfect match for the quirky style of the game. While the levels take place predominantly in Egypt it doesn’t mean you’ll be looking at sandy dunes and pyramids all the time. The adventure begins in Amshear, but quickly moves on to locations like the Nile, Sinai Mines, an abandoned train station and even a Cairo Hotel. Completing the game also unlocks an extra stage set in a very cool location, which we don’t want to spoil.

As much as we love the visuals in PR+ it would be remiss not to mention some of the shortcomings. The resolution is unfortunately restricted to 640×480, which is quite primitive by modern standards. Playing in full-screen stretches the visuals, which is obviously not ideal, but it can also be played in a resizable window. Due to the brilliant pixel art the low resolution is not really that much of an issue, but we also encountered quite a bit of screen tearing. The audio is also very nice, but there is no way to adjust the music and sound effects separately. As with all platformers, the game is best played with a controller, but we did have some issues using an Xbox 360 controller. The analog stick was just too sensitive for movement, but switching over to the D-pad worked fine. Seeing as you have buttons dedicated to attacking, jumping, selecting a sub weapon and using a sub weapon there is a bit of a learning curve involved with the controls. Pulling off the special abilities and switching between items on the fly soon becomes second nature though.

Even with some of the issues we’ve mentioned Pharaoh Rebirth+ is still one of our favorite platformers so far this year. While it doesn’t have a ton of different levels, each one is packed with unique enemies and plenty of secrets to find. You don’t have to worry about time limits either, so each level can be explored at your own leisure. One of the levels even enables you to play as Andre, complete with his own attacks and moves that are different from Jonathan. We are actually surprised that Andre didn’t get more of his own levels as he is just as much fun to play with as Jonathan.

If you are a fan of platform games, specifically the Metroidvania variety, then Pharaoh Rebirth+ is an absolutely essential purchase. It is reasonably priced and has enough replay value to keep you busy for ages finding treasures. It is also extremely addictive and, with three difficulty settings to choose from, has something to offer players of all skill levels. Don’t let the technical hiccups hold you back from experiencing one of the most charming platformers on PC.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP or Higher
  • Processor: Intel core 2 duo
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 5.2
  • Storage: 250 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7 or Higher
  • Processor: Intel core 2 duo
  • Memory: 500 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Direct 3D 9 supported
  • DirectX: Version 5.2
  • Storage: 250 MB available space

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