The sequel to Bonk’s Adventure is a tough sucker to evaluate. While Bonk’s Revenge technically offers more than its predecessor, I felt I came away with less after playing it. What the hell?
I know Bonk’s Revenge has better graphics than Bonk’s Adventure (as any proper sequel should), but I can’t quite decide if this matters. Bonk’s Revenge is more colorful, but it’s not like Bonk’s Adventure didn’t have an appropriate amount or usage of color. The art of Revenge has more detail, but Adventure arguably has more personality with its boss designs and other bits (such as Bonk’s Caesarian look when he gets a meat power up). Having said that, I have no significant complaints about the visuals of Revenge. It’s more of the same with slight alterations, and that’s a good thing.
As in the visual department, the audio didn’t change much from Bonk’s Adventure to Bonk’s Revenge. The quirky sound effects, which are almost annoying, are still there. A lot of the music is the same, which is great given that Bonk’s Adventure is full of memorable tracks. Even better, the new music in Bonk’s Revenge is just as catchy and appropriate as the music it recycles.
The gameplay of Bonk’s Revenge is more noticeably different. This time when you eat meat and go bananas, you can shoot projectiles that stun enemies or even breathe fire at full power. At the same time, I didn’t have as much fun in this state as I did in Bonk’s Adventure, as Bonk’s Revenge seems to put you in unfavorable positions to obliterate everything (even the mid-air turbo spin has been slowed down). With cheap hits lurking around every corner, you have to be more careful.
Another change is the addition of bonus stages, which many reviewers harshly criticize. Apparently, some people skip the bonus stages altogether. I don’t recommend this approach, as the bonus stages allow you to accumulate smiley faces, which are traded in at the end of each world for anything from extra heart containers to extra lives to level warps. These rewards clearly indicate that the developers want you to play the bonus stages. Otherwise, it’s going to be rougher later on, when the game can get frustrating with numerous traps (getting stuck between conveyor belts is a NIGHTMARE) and tricky platforming. Exploration in general is a bigger theme in Bonk’s Revenge than it was in Bonk’s Adventure.
At this point, I’ve made the game sound somewhat hard, but it’s really not, even with limited continues. If you go along with the bonus stages and figure out the weird hit detections of the bosses, the game is a breeze compared to the final stretch of Bonk’s Adventure. Bonk’s Revenge allows you to have up to eight heart containers, and extra lives are plentiful. Put in the work early on, and you’ll be set to dominate the game.
One thing, though: like me, you might find controlling Bonk really weird at first. (Perhaps some people never get the hang of it.) The controls seem slippery and sluggish compared to many other platformers, but after an amount of time that I cannot enumerate, everything strangely feels natural – that is, if you manage to hit that Bonk groove, which is utterly essential. If I had never hit the Bonk groove, I would not recommend this game.
If you enjoy the style of Bonk, you’ll play Revenge again, but the game doesn’t offer many options. The game features three “difficulty” settings that limit the stages you can access. Honestly, I don’t see the point. Just play the “Expert” setting so you can experience the whole game. There is no multiplayer.
Bonk’s Revenge is even quirkier than its predecessor, which sets you up for some unique surprises (wait until you get squashed for the first time). But is this sequel better than Bonk’s Adventure? Probably, but beating Adventure still seemed more satisfying.