If you have any love of platformers, boss rushes, Kirby, Metroid, inventive weapons, humor, jammin’ soundtracks, or Good Video Games, I’ll go ahead and direct you to this link —-> A Mini Falafel Adventure.
My work here should be done.
Calling A Mini Falafel Adventure a “Microvania” wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate, but it would also do a disservice to what the game accomplishes. It is a small Metroidvania game, but with big enough ideas to make every minute of its short run time carry weight.
The game starts innocuously enough, you’re a small falafel who can run and jump. You’re treated to the four-color green hue art style of the original game boy, and you take a few easy leaps over a few blocks. You’ll soon pick up a chili pepper that spices up your mobility and doubles as a dangerous weapon. Then you’ll use it to defeat Alfro, a giant afro with a face that you set on fire. This happens in the first ten minutes, and then everything escalates.
None of the powerups follow the standard “double-jump, bigger gun, etc” formula, thankfully, and the surprise helps make each upgrade feel more special. We’ve come to expect those tropes, so every step Mini Falafel’s upgrade path is a new surprise. About halfway through the game an upgrade takes away your ability to jump.
Mini Falafel has one of the most impressive rogues galleries of any indie game I’ve played. In the two hours it takes to reach the credits, a third of that is spent in boss fights. Almost all of the battles are memorable, from a dog who swings a giant hammer to a tricky wizard with a magic hat. There’s even a boss who (poorly) disguises himself as another boss to catch you off guard. That’s just good bossing.
The challenge feels just right for most of the fights, but a couple seem to have a bit too much health. The rule of threes is ignored for majority of the game, with the most bosses taking four hits, and one strange instance of a simple boss taking five hits before moving to its next phase. There’s a good sense of victory that comes with taking down some of these tough bosses, but repeating the same task five times on just one form of a boss seems a bit egregious, and I’m not sure that it adds much other than a few extra seconds to a fight that has already clearly been mastered.
Developer Chris Nimmo’s personality is bursting from the seams of this adventure. All of the game’s text is effortlessly charming, and it’s hard to think of another game that can make me smile just by reading its chapter titles. Jokes are scattered throughout just as often as silly bosses. The game’s strangest jumping mechanic culminates in one of the game’s funniest jokes, which then leads to an amazing level where you play an entirely different genre for about ten minutes. Can Chris Nimmo just get hired at Nintendo already?
As if the game needed any more personality, the soundtrack makes every moment stand out even more. There’s a mix of genres on display, with some tracks that feel like poppy Kirby/Hotline Miami dance mashups, and others like funkier space music. Reed Richard’s soundtrack is a totally worthwhile album even without the game, which makes sense because some of the game’s tracks exist outside of Mini Falafel.
If you’ve ever been charmed by a Nintendo game, A Mini Falafel Adventure feels like a Game Boy classic lost in time. Check out the game’s page on Nimmo’s site (it’s free!), and give it a go.
There is literally a track on the set list called “In Space, No One Can Hear You Boogie” that ends with a robot saying “Space” over and over again. Goodbye.