If there was ever a game that didn’t take itself seriously, it’s Sigi – A Fart for Melusina. Going even from the title alone, you can take a wild guess as to how silly this 8-bit platformer is going to be. Though, that’s all part and parcel of the game’s allure. You see, despite the fact that this can be completed in the space of less than an hour, there’s a bit more to Sigi than meets the eye. The game throws you into the titular role of the flatulent knight on his quest to save the love of his life, Melusina, who has been seemingly kidnapped by a nefarious villain.
What follows on is a tight, fluid and short adventure through the game’s twenty stages. The world map sports a Super Mario World-esque design, being that the trail to the end is separated by markers that serve as individual levels, with each level taking somewhere between a minute or two to complete. This is intended to be a short adventure, made apparent by the game’s generous price tag, together with its store description that states exactly that. Despite the odd design issue here and there, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with Sigi.
The game isn’t at all hard to sink into, quite the contrary in fact. Sigi can run, jump and attack his way through each stage. The controls are tight and responsive throughout, ensuring that any mistake or death is completely down to player error. The game’s twenty levels have the occasional boss battle thrown in, but for the most part, you’ll be making your way from one end of the stage to the other, collecting new weapons, treasures and letters along the way. It’s relatively simple stuff as far as the overall design goes, but effective and quite fun nonetheless.
When you’re not battling one of the game’s few bosses, you’ll always be started at the left-furthest section of each level. The aim of each level is to make it to the other side, again, Super Mario World-esque. Only here, instead of reaching the castle of a princess, you’ll be greeted by a hot-dog stand. There’s a total of four letters to collect along the way, collectively spelling the name S-I-G-I. Occasionally, a letter may be stuffed inside a hidden cave, but for the most part, these aren’t at all hard to find and oftentimes sit in the path of your natural route.
Hidden caves can be uncovered through throwing a projectile weapon at a wall that hides their locations. There’s absolutely no way to determine where these caves are covered up, so it does take some perseverance and trial and error to locate each and every one. When you’re not wall-bashing for caves, you’ll be collecting coins, nabbing food and fighting a decent variety of enemies. Collecting coins goes towards earning extra lives, in which you’re rewarded one more for each hundred that you obtain, whereas food, on the other hand, replenishes health.
Each one of Sigi’s lives are tethered to the classic three-heart function. Pick up food and you’ll gain a heart, but if you take a hit, you’ll lose a heart. When you lose all three, you lose a life and will instantly be transported back to the last checkpoint that you activated. Enemies vary from the standard types that we see in these sort of games; zombies, skeletons, bats, witches and so forth. Each coming with their own attacks and movement patterns. The combat is as straightforward as it needs to be. Simply hit the attack button to throw an endless supply of whatever weapon you’re in possession of.
The game does have a small yet nice variation of weaponry to depend on, many of which can be pillaged from chests or picked up along the path of each level. Besting your foes takes little more than well timed shots, seeing as most enemies can be overcome through direct assault. The boss battles tend to be the only foes that demand some care and attention, though this is where one of my few gripes with the game comes into focus – they’re too generic and far too easy to be considered even remotely challenging. I was really hoping for the opposite.
Instead, these encounters entail nothing more than either hitting them from behind or hitting a very specific part of their structure. It would have been nice to see more depth on this front, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s easy to overlook when we take the scale of the game and its price into consideration. Still, it stood out for me enough to make a note about it. When you’ve made your way around the entire map and bested the final boss you’ll be charted via percentage and time (my first attempt took me 32 minutes) based on your full run.
It’s worth noting that this game is designed for repeat runs, and if that’s what you look for in a game, you’ll get the most value in return for your cash. You’ll also be getting your money’s worth if you’re an achievement hunter and you enjoy short games that hand out easy G. Many of the game’s achievements will unlock on your first run, but there are some additions that feed into the game’s extras. There’s a range of hidden items hidden throughout Sigi’s levels; a crown, a talisman, a grail and so forth. These are tucked away in some very well hidden spots, so be on the lookout if you’re chasing max completion.
On the visual and audio front, Sigi – A Fart for Melusina sits inline with the era that it’s drawing inspiration from. There’s not a great deal of environmental variation, nor indeed detail, but it gets the job done all the same. I quite enjoyed the game’s design and for its cost, there’s little to groan about. It would be nice to see Sigi again, but if that comes to light, I would like to see more length, more variation and boss battles that actually put up a fight. When all is said and done, Sigi – A Fart for Melusina achieves most of what it sets out to accomplish, nothing more and nothing less.
Sigi – A Fart for Melusina’s core formula clearly targets both the speedrunner and the achievement hunter audience. Its very generous price-tag justifies its very short length, and despite some uninspired boss encounters, this game, largely due to its accessibility, its solid design and its tight controls, remains a joy to play from beginning to end. Short-lived indeed, but fun and enjoyable nonetheless.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.