Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor - Boxer Baron Boss Fight

There’s something charming about games that feel like they’d be right at home at an arcade. I’m not talking about games with “arcade-y elements,” either. As much as I love stuff like No More Heroes and Bayonetta, those games feel like much bigger experiences that are inspired by old-school beat-‘em-ups and hack-and-slash action titles. No, I’m specifically talking about games that you might find on home consoles and PC but that feel like a perfect fit for an actual arcade cabinet.

I’m talking about games like Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor.

Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor

Everything about Thunder Kid is just so undeniably arcade that I can’t help but wish that someday, maybe it’ll actually be ported to a cabinet. It’s scrappy. It’s hyper-lo-res. It’s simple to grasp. It can kick your butt. Even all of its promotional artwork looks like what you’d see on the side of an arcade cabinet.

Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor keeps things simple, fun, and only sometimes frustrating. It’s a 3D shoot-‘em-up action game, and you can move forward and backward or strafe left and right. The camera is always positioned behind your character’s back, and you can’t move it. There’s no reason to move the camera, though, as levels are designed in a way that you’re always moving forward toward a goal.

Enemies are positioned all over, and their attack patterns are in line with what you’d see in a bullet hell shooter. As such, avoiding fire can sometimes be a tall task. Other times, it’s easy to exploit the game’s enemies by simply running through and completely avoiding combat. You might take a hit or two here and there, or you might make it through a small enclosed space unscathed. Is it a little cheap? Maybe, but if you were dropping quarters on retries, it’s these moments of game mechanic exploitation that you’d be ever so grateful for.

Thunder Kid - Renegade Sector Games

Of course, if Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor was an arcade game and you were chasing that high score, you wouldn’t be trying to avoid any combat situations. No, you’d be trying to kill everything that moves to score those sweet, sweet points. That’s almost where the game’s biggest flaw is. Because you’re not actually trying to record your initials in the annals of greatness, sometimes there’s no reason to engage every single enemy unless they pose a direct threat to your success.

Though enemies are a bit simple-minded at times, they can still be challenging to overcome. They’ll rain down bullets and bombs on you, and it’s in these moments of high difficulty that Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor absolutely thrives. It feels great getting through a tough area, meticulously taking out enemies, hiding behind cover, and then making a run for it to the next area.

You’ll find hidden tokens in each of the game’s stages, and hunting these out is usually pretty easy to do. If you’re a completionist, you’ll want to seek these out. Otherwise, they’re just sort of an extra thing to do.

Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor Lord Longlegs Boss Fight

Boss battles in Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor can be pretty challenging, but only because of all the fire that bosses rain down on you. Once you understand their attack patterns, it gets pretty easy dodging and spamming your own shots. That said, these encounters are still entertaining thanks to the absolute madness that ensues when bosses are firing bullets at you, charging your way, and swinging melee weapons at you.

There are eighteen levels in Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor, plus seven boss battles (with absurdly named bosses, mind you). The game isn’t too long, though, and simply going from start to finish will take you about an hour or two tops. Again, if this was an arcade game and it was eating up your quarters, it would be a perfect way to spend an evening.

Renegade Sector Games is doing a fine job of creating retro-like arcade action games. Admittedly, I thought Breakneck City was just a bit more polished and an overall better game, but that said, Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor is definitely a blast to play. It has a cool, colorful look to it. It has some joyously quirky music. And it’s just good, simple, wholesome fun.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor on Nintendo Switch, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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