Like bacon? Ever wanted to be bacon? Well, Skymap Game’s adventurer platformer Bacon Man: An Adventure give you the opportunity to live out that strange, exceedingly specific fantasy, as longer as you’re prepared to die over and over and over and over and over and over and over…
With the world resting on his shoulders, take on the role of Bacon Man. Battle through the food groups and confront those who condemned you. It’s up to you to clear his name, by murdering those who put him behind bars.
It has to be said from the begining: Bacon Man is hard. At times, frustratingly hard. It is, however, entirely fair. In the same way that the difficulty of Dark Souls has it’s own kind of flavor, Bacon Man‘s difficulty does not come from cheap tricks or “gotcha moments”.
No, you see each death coming, or perhaps more accurately, each life slowly slipping away as you fall into boiling water, cruel spikes or the jaws of some vicious crustacean. I never felt like a death was unearned, but that doesn’t always make it easier to bear. This difficulty is almost certainly going to drive some people away, but I will say this: when, after fifty attempts, you do end up perfectly make each jump in a long series, and finally reach that check point at long last, It feels good. Really good. By ratcheting up the difficult, Skymap Games have also increased the sense of reward in Bacon Man. Each stretch of every level is a struggle, but when you make it to the next checkpoint (luckily, there are a lot of these), you feel damn accomplished.
If you played games in the 90’s, this probably sounds somewhat familiar: Bacon Man‘s gameplay is a huge nostalgia trip. The game feels like a love letter to the platformers of the 90’s: I got huge Donkey Kong Country, Rayman, and Earthworm Jim flashback while playing. You’ll be running, jumping, hitting and shooting your way through the enemies of Bacon Man, collecting a variety of different items and equipment as you do, though most of the challenge of the game comes from the platforming, not from the enemies. Honestly, the enemies and bosses in the game never gave me much trouble, but the platforming was nightmarish at times. I’ll readily admit this was more than likely due to a personal lack of skill, as the controls felt incredibly tight, and with sufficient patience and determination, even I made it to the next checkpoint.
Want learn more about the inspiration and history of Bacon Man? Check out our interview with Managing Director of Skymap Games Neal Laurenza:
One really specific thing that I like about Bacon Man is the fact that, right from the beginning, your given four different characters to pick from. Each has slight mechanical differences in terms of health and attack power or abilities, but none of this makes a massive difference to the minute to minute gameplay. Bacon Man is clearly the protagonist of the game, and it’s his story, so you’ll still see him in cutscenes, but each character has their place, and the variety does a great job of fleshing out the world.
On top of having difficult but fair gameplay and tight controls, Bacon Man looks gorgeous. The entire game has a very distinct cartoony aesthetic, but instead of leaning toward minimalism, Skymap Games has absolutely filled the backdrops and environments with details.
The game’s music also deserves special mention. Braxton Burks and Kyle Landry’s sound track is at times playful and quirky, but quickly becomes epic and bombastic, feeling you with a sense of drive and purpose. It’s a testament to the quality of the soundtrack that the music never becomes old, even if you are dying over and over again in the same stretch of a level.
One of the best parts of Bacon Man is, however, the game’s quirky narrative and even quirkier characters. The world, the characters and the story are all very tongue and cheek, and full of dry humor and puns. I mean, this is a game about an anthropomorphic piece of bacon on a quest to regain his throne of Meat World, in a universe where food in not only sentient; if you went in expecting some serious drama, you may want to look elsewhere.
Bacon Man is also a surprisingly lovable protagonist, naive and completely oblivious to the political backstabbing and betrayal going on around him. He’s a meathead, more interested in action than in words, and remains remarkably optimistic in the face of his trials.
I’ve yet to finish Bacon Man: An Adventure at the time of writing this, even though I’ve sunk considerable time into it, and I’ve yet to have an opportunity to play the game co-op with a friend.
Ultimately, whether or not you’ll like Bacon Man: An Adventure is going to come down to your personal sense of delayed gratification and nostalgia. Bacon Man: An Adventure is an incredibly difficult platformer, but is perfectly fair in its difficulty, and tells a hilarious story full of quirky characters, strange locales, and nostalgia for the golden years of the action platformers in the 90’s.