Genre: Action, Arcade, Platformer, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows))
Developer|Publisher: hiulit | Flynn’s Arcade
Age Rating: EU 7 | US Everyone
Price: US $4.99 | UK £4.99 | EU € 4,99
Release Date: May 18th, 2023
Review code provided with many thanks to Flynn’s Arcade.
Murtop is an arcade title which can be best described as Dig Dug, but you play as a bunny who appears to fart out bombs. If that tag doesn’t perk your interest, then you’re probably not a retro gamer. The game easily scratches the arcade itch, but its feel is very much stuck in the past for better and worse.
Just like the good old days, you insert a credit, and the game begins. Only you don’t need to use real money to do that in this case. The objective is nice and simple. Clear the board of enemies while racking up as high a score as possible.
Controls are easy to pick up and use, and the game runs great in TV or handheld modes with excellent performance. As mentioned, the bunnies’ weapon of choice is a bomb. Once you lay a bomb, you have a very small amount of time to move out of the way before a large horizontal ball explodes, destroying any enemy or bunny that happens to be in its path of destruction. This mechanic gives the game a familiar Bomberman feel to it. If you remove more enemies at once, you wrack up a score multiplier, heavily increasing your score.
That’s not the only way to dispatch enemies, though. Rocks are dotted about the level, held up by a piece of dirt. Dig under it and release at the right time to catch the enemy, and it will knock them out, netting you a nice score in the process. It’s a neat alternative, but the overpowered bombs were by far my weapon of choice for most playthroughs.
The premise appears to be that some moles have taken over your burrow, and as a bunny, you need to evict these intruders. This means taking measures that include laying bombs to blast them out of the level. It seems a bit extreme, but it gets the job done. The game does a great job recreating the feel of a classic arcade cabinet.
Going into the options menu, you can tweak the display setting to crt mode or pixel-perfect to get that more old-school appearance. You can flip the screen into Tate mode if you’re lucky enough to have a TV that supports it, but this can also be enjoyed in handheld mode.
The graphics also replicate the pixel look and feel of the old arcade days with appropriate sound effects. It leans a little too heavily into Dig Dug, practically replicating the level design of the original game, just changing the sprites. You even get that familiar missing pixel block as you dig through the dirt.
The gameplay more than sets it apart from that series, but more could have maybe been done to make it look different. A neat little touch to the design I did like was between level transitions, enemies would chase the bunny, and when you get a game over, the remaining enemies appear to celebrate your defeat, adding a quirky bit of humour to the experience.
Two Hundred Levels
Murtop gives you plenty of arcade bang for its small price of entry. The game features over two hundred levels. However, you kinda see the same five levels cycled over and over, with difficulty appearing to gradually increase with each way around, adding more enemies and hazards to contend with.
Gameplay is also occasionally mixed up with a bonus level where you simply collect carrots falling from the sky while avoiding falling rocks. Once defeated, you can enter your name in the high-score leaderboards. Even after death, you can pick up where you left off without restarting from the beginning of the game. If you have the stamina to make it to the end, you can experience a Kill Screen. A nice node for the old days and hardcore arcade fans.
Conclusion: 80s Fix
Overall, I liked Murtop for the small price of entry. It provides solid hopping arcade fun, doing a top job recreating the look and feel of games from that era. If you’re looking for a simple gaming hit to satisfy those retro urges, then you should be satisfied by what’s on offer. But some players might expect a little more from the experience, such as more variety in gameplay. Murtop is very much an arcade title that feels like it is from the 80s and hasn’t evolved from that era. If you’re happy with that, then it’s well worth its small asking price.
Final Verdict: I Like It
Haven’t heard of Murtop, but this review has certainly peaked my curiosity. I like arcade style games, kinda reminds me of Digdug.