Ufouria: The Saga 2 is an interesting game. This platformer is the sequel to a 33-year-old NES title that was only released in Japan and Europe. It comes loaded with cute characters, collectibles, and a quirky sense of humor. Does it work? Yeah, mostly.

If you’re not familiar with the original outing, you’re not alone. This obscure title was released way back in 1991 on the NES, though it never made its way to the US. The game was the first in a series featuring Sunsoft’s own mascot, Hebereke the penguin. Hebe went on to lead other titles with the unique gimmick that each one used a different genre. Ufouria: The Saga 2, then, is the first true sequel to one of those original titles.

This time around, our hero wakes up to find that an alien has crashed nearby. This otherworldly rapscallion has dumped some kind of goop all over the world. When the alien flees, it’s up to Hebe to seek him out, cleaning up the mess along the way. During this adventure, Hebe recruits his three animalian friends to join the campaign. 

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This simple premise sets Hebe on a quest across the lands surrounding his home to find the alien. Each section of platforming is set in a different environment, from caves to woods. The various settings look lovely, with cute and colorful backdrops sporting a crafted appearance. Despite this simple, child-like approach, dynamic foreground and background details bring the world further to life. 

Hidden within the levels are plenty of coins and other collectibles to find. Coins are important since the game heavily relies on purchasable power-ups to proceed. These are fun to unlock, and it’s a treat for anyone who likes to collect everything possible. For example, Hebe can learn new attacks, upgrade his hearts, or add extra Popoons to his arsenal.

What are Popoons, I hear you ask? I’m not quite sure myself, to be honest, but they serve as Hebe’s weapon. Visually, they resemble blue blobs with eyes; they look a lot like Dragon Quest’s Slimes. Hebe can hold and hurl these jelly-like creatures at enemies, which is essential for cleaning off any of that pesky alien goop.

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Unlocking abilities and characters means previously inaccessible sections may now be available. There’s a fair bit of backtracking, but the short and sweet levels ensure it’s not overly burdensome. Some levels vary slightly when you revisit them, too, keeping things feeling fresh. Gameplay is kept at an accessible level, meaning it’s quite an easy ride. You won’t need to have conquered Mario’s Star Road levels in order to play this title.

The characters and the ability to swap between them is the main selling point of Ufouria: The Saga 2. You can swap them at any point—even mid-jump—with a simple tap of the L or R button. They high-five each other as they sub in for one another, which might be my favorite part of this game. Each one sports a different ability that gives you a reason to change them.

Hebe’s first friend is a kitty. Her ability is swimming, meaning you can now traverse watery areas. No, I’m not sure why the cat can swim, since they traditionally hate water. It’s all part of the game’s quirky charm. Next up is a ghost. This pale-looking pal can float while he jumps (think Luigi’s famous flutter jump), bringing hard-to-reach platforms within your grasp. Finally, a green creature named Jennifer takes the form of a deep-sea angler fish. This little character is adept at digging, making underground mines accessible. No, I don’t know why the fish isn’t the one who can swim well, either. Again, charm.

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In fact, this charm is evident across the entire game. It feels much more character-driven than a typical platformer. It’s worth noting the high volume of dialogue, particularly at the beginning. For a seemingly simple title, there’s a lot of talking. On the plus side, this often means humorous interactions between characters. On the downside, if you’re simply after solid platforming, you might find the delays frustrating. 

The music matches the cute aesthetic with beeps and boops that merge retro and modern styles. It feels like an homage to the original title with its enhanced 8-bit twinklings. The tunes vary between levels, though they can become slightly repetitive when you’re caught up in those moments of dialogue. 

Overall, Ufouria: The Saga 2 is a fun platformer full of cuteness and quirkiness. The colors and music pop, and the platforming is simple yet solid, though the adventure could be considered too easy for veterans.