Berserk Boy Review – A Breezy, Unique Take on the Mega Man Formula

    Go berserk in this lightning-fast action platformer.

    What if you took Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog, mixed their gameplay styles together, and released it as a game? You would probably get Berserk Boy, a new, fast-paced, 2D action platformer from the indie developer BerserkBoy Games. Does this title manage to pull off the concept, or was it never meant to be? 

    Fortunately, Berserk Boy has quite a bit to offer for those looking for an exciting new side-scroller to play. It’s not a flawless experience by any means, but it’s easy to tell that a lot of passion went into this project. Let’s take a look at what exactly the game does well and what it could do better. 

    A Remix of Two Classic Formulas

    grinding on a rail

    At first, Berserk Boy‘s presentation seems mostly reminiscent of classic Mega Man titles with its futuristic setting and art style. However, as I progressed, I began to notice the Sonic inspiration more and more. Unlike Mega Man games, players don’t get to choose which boss they will challenge next. Instead, the game is divided into a three-act structure for the vast majority of the game’s locations. 

    At the end of every third level, there is a boss fight that will introduce new powers to the mix. Like a Mega Man game, once you defeat a boss, you will gain access to their abilities. The next set of levels will often be centered around utilizing your newly obtained skills to clear them.

    If this sounds a bit restrictive, that’s because it is. For the most part, Berserk Boy is a very linear game about getting to the goal quickly and with style. Like many Sonic games, you are given a ranking for your score, with “S” being the highest. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but what about the supposed Metroidvania elements the game claims to have?

    Berserk Boy Is Designed for Replayability

    Berserk Boy Flame Drill boss battle

    It’s basically impossible to fully complete every stage on an initial playthrough. Each level contains five emblems and several resistance members to find. This is where the Metroidvania aspect comes in. Many areas are inaccessible unless you have the ability required to get to them. This means that replaying missions is required to unlock everything the game has to offer.

    For me, the incentive to earn better rankings and faster clear times is enough, but the rewards for digging a little deeper are worth it. First of all, the player can unlock “EX Missions,” which are fun, bite-sized levels that task the player with getting to the goal as quickly as possible. Additionally, if the player is able to collect 50 emblems, they will be able to challenge the game’s true final boss.

    If you are looking for a Metroidvania with complex environments, you aren’t going to find it here. That being said, experimenting with the game’s different abilities can be quite fun and sometimes rewarding. Berserk Boy‘s level design is rather simple most of the time, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for secrets. 

    An Unstoppable Flow

    Dashing over spikes in the second New Hope City mission

    Berserk Boy definitely isn’t a game where the player character is weak and struggling to survive. For all intents and purposes, you are a deadly force that only the game’s bosses can put up a fight against. The vast majority of enemies can be dealt with very quickly, often giving you a forward sense of momentum. 

    The game is at its best when it allows the player to enter a flow state by dashing into a sequence of enemies and chaining a large combo together. There’s a rhythm to it that is incredibly satisfying and addictive. It’s somewhat similar to getting an SSS rank in a Devil May Cry game. Nothing can stop you but yourself.

    Unfortunately, a few abilities feel either redundant or somewhat useless because of how powerful the player is. While the game emphasizes its skill ceiling rather than its skill floor, there can be a noticeable lack of challenge. I found myself completing stages with at least an A rank most of the time, including the later levels. 

    Not Enough Challenge?

    shooting at an enemy during a boat section

    There weren’t very many obstacles in Berserk Boy that impeded my progress for very long. Even the boss battles didn’t make me break much of a sweat. Most fights make the player memorize fairly limited move sets with some lenient telegraphs. With this in mind, it was incredibly rare for me to lose to a boss more than three times. 

    There’s also the issue of enemy variety. You will be encountering many of the same enemies throughout the game, and they aren’t exactly great at tanking hits. I can only think of a few that ever made me reconsider my approach. Fortunately, this may have been a smart choice as it keeps the game’s momentum mostly intact. 

    Furthermore, a lack of difficulty doesn’t necessarily indicate a bad game. There should be enough depth here for speedrunners to enjoy. With enough skill, I imagine the game can take far less than the 7 hours it took for me to beat the game at a leisurely pace. Additionally, there’s a classic mode with limited lives and stronger enemies for those who want a greater challenge. 

    Smooth and Stylish

    the level select room

    On the whole, Berserk Boy‘s presentation is quite charming and full of character. The animations convey the speed and impact necessary to make the game feel great to play. The environments are rich with color, and the great background art makes the locations seem a bit more tangible. All of this makes for a game that looks and runs smooth as butter.

    I didn’t encounter any noticeable technical issues during my playthrough. Even on a Steam Deck, the game ran flawlessly and provided a decent battery life. If there were any bugs, they did an amazing job of hiding from my sight. Berserk Boy is about as polished as it can get. 

    It’s also worth noting that the soundtrack is fantastic and perfectly carries the energy of each environment and the game as a whole. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise since Tee Lopes of Sonic Mania fame is responsible for composing much of the music here. if you liked the music Mania had to offer, Berserk Boy definitely won’t disappoint in that regard. 

    Berserk Boy Is a Blast

    Berserk Boy official artwork

    It’s always great to see indie developers add their own twist to the classic Mega Man formula. For example, I very much enjoyed last year’s Gravity Circuit, which was also a throwback to the series. While there may be some areas where it falls short, Berserk Boy is a lot of fun and very much worth your time. 

    In fact, if you are somehow new to the genre, this may be a great game to start with. It’s fast and exciting but also quite forgiving most of the time. This makes it very accessible but also has a ton to offer if you want to delve deeper into its mechanics. 

    While I don’t think this game is going to blow anyone’s expectations out of the water, I’d very much be curious to see the gameplay be expanded upon in a potential sequel. Clearly, a lot of love went into this game, and I hope that it’s able to find its audience because of that. 

    For more reviews, be sure to keep an eye on Final Weapon! Berserk Boy is available for Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on March 6. 

    Disclaimer: BerserkBoy Games provided Final Weapon with a copy of Berserk Boy for review purposes.


    Berserk Boy provides a fast-paced and easily replayable experience for those on the lookout for a new side scroller to play. While it doesn't necessarily test the player's skills too much, the core mechanics make the game a joy to play. There's a lot of charm and passion here that ultimately makes Berserk Boy a worthwhile purchase.
    Itch has a strong passion for PC gaming and retro consoles (especially the Dreamcast). From Melty Blood: Actress Again to Forza Horizon, he will play just about anything that catches his eye. Ever since playing Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit as a young child, he has been in love with the medium of video games and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

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    Berserk Boy provides a fast-paced and easily replayable experience for those on the lookout for a new side scroller to play. While it doesn't necessarily test the player's skills too much, the core mechanics make the game a joy to play. There's a lot of charm and passion here that ultimately makes Berserk Boy a worthwhile purchase. Berserk Boy Review - A Breezy, Unique Take on the Mega Man Formula