A Spanish ninja bartender. That’s how our story begins. Albacete Warrior wants you to know that it’s not a game to take seriously from the very first moment it appears in your screen. And until the very last. It’s a satirical combat game where you take on the role of Benito Waters, recalling his globetrotting adventures. Waters, however, is a bit of an ass. Any Albacete Warrior review wouldn’t be justified without mentioning this upfront.
Waters was given an important task given to him by his master, Paco sensei. With his trusty companion, friend, dancing partner, international flight and also main weapon, Pepito the chicken, players will ‘cockslap’ waves of enemies as they attempt to fulfil the ancient prophecy to become ‘the chosen one’.
What this actually means is that you’ll be travelling to various different locales, engaging in combat and platforming action. The former isn’t bad. The player has basic combos, heavy finishers and Pepito attacks at their disposal. Initially you’ll come across just a few enemies on-screen, but as the game progresses there’ll be dozens at a time to take out. Dodge, block, combo. It’s pretty basic stuff, but well rounded. Sadly, the latter is a significant issue.
For this Albacete Warrior review to suggest that the platforming action appeals would be a great disservice. The control system leaves a lot to be desired. On paper it’s very familiar; jump, double jump, wall jump, air dash. In practice however, it can be very frustrating. There seems to be a disconnect between your intended action and what plays out on-screen, almost as if the game ignores your inputs unless they’re either perfect or result in failure; any middle ground simply does nothing. This can make getting up a small ledge frustrating at times, let alone having to perform acrobatics between multiple small surfaces where one failure means restarting the entire section. Why the developers chose not to allow d-pad input on console is a mystery.
The hand drawn art style of the story is refreshing. It’s partly ‘cheap’ looking – intentionally so – and partly heavily stylised. The juxtaposition with the pixel-art of the gameplay is quite something. Almost as if the game is reflecting upon itself in a poor light. However, this is just yet another part of the satirical humour running throughout. Albacete Warrior is almost a self-deprecating experience. Nothing like the vanity of Waters, then.
Albacete Warrior is a mixed bag. As FAS3 Studio’s first console game, it’s not bad. We’d certainly welcome more from the team. However, as a brawler-platformer, there are dozens of more interesting titles available. The mature theme doesn’t always sit quite right and the control system is a great annoyance. So much so that many will struggle to even progress past the first level. In such a case, you’re probably better of sticking with the likes of Teratopia or a classic such as Battletoads than trying to put your faith in Albacete Warrior.