Dr. Green – What We Think:
Platforming games, both old and new, are so pervasive now that it’s often difficult for new titles to stand out. It isn’t always enough for a game to be well made or feature strong production values; platformers often make use of distinctive artwork or a twist on gameplay mechanics in order to shine. Dr. Green faces this challenge while striving to provide a retro action platforming experience akin to the likes of Mega Man.
The eponymous Dr. Green is an orphan who grows up in the forest after being abandoned by his single father. When industry begins to threaten his adoptive home he sets out to put a stop to the invasion of metal, traveling from his woodland dwelling to the city. This journey is split into eight stages that are represented by a simple but effective world map with the forest on the left and the city on the right.
The gameplay of Dr. Green is that of classic platforming and if you’ve played Mega Man you’ll feel right at home here. Travelling from left to right, you can shoot enemies with your peashooter and collect seeds to improve your score. You have three hearts of health to maintain and you can restore hearts by releasing caged animals dotted throughout the levels. This may sound very familiar but it’s in the execution that Dr. Green shines.
Walla Walla Bing Bang
You are given three lives at the start of the game and you earn another for each completed stage. You can’t save, so if you run out of lives then it’s back to square one. Dr. Green is sufficiently punishing that this will happen often before you finally beat the game. The levels become very challenging as you progress and saving up lives early on is key to pushing through the second half of the game.
Enemies are fairly simple on the first stage but things soon get more interesting as new foes and obstacles are introduced. Each of the eight stages also features a boss and some of these offer a decent challenge. Just as with many retro platformers, learning the attack patterns of these bosses will eventually make them a breeze but the initial challenge is usually pretty strong.
Doctoring the Classics
The visuals of Dr. Green are appropriately retro-inspired with a cute outlined pixel art style making up the characters and background. The developer – Johan Aronson – is also an accomplished pixel artist. Similarly, the music is pure chiptune nostalgia that perfectly captures the feel of the games that influenced Dr. Green’s creator. Naturally this kind of basic aesthetic isn’t for everyone, but for those who fondly remember Mega Man or miss their SNES and its like, the style will certainly appeal.
Green Means Go
Dr. Green is a very well made homage to the high difficulty platformers of the past. The gameplay is challenging and the story features an enjoyable “nature against the machine” theme not unlike the one central to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.
Dr. Green shows us that you don’t always need to combine the platformer with other genres or produce stunning hand drawn artwork to make an exemplary platformer. An attractive price tag only cements Dr. Green’s appeal; this one is worth a look for anyone who enjoys a solid platformer.
Watch the trailer for Dr. Green below: