GameZuki Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap Review

I fancy myself somewhat of a retro gaming nerd. It’s very rare that I’m not at least aware of a title from the golden age of gaming. (I don’t know if gaming has ages like comics do, but let’s pretend they do because it sounds good.) If I haven’t played a game, I usually have knowledge of it’s existence and can at least tell you what system it was on or something about it based on my brief contact with the title. Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap is one of those titles that was not on my radar at all. So you can imagine my surprise when I looked up more info on the game before making a decision to purchase it on my Nintendo Switch. After googling the title, I was confused when I saw entries for “Wonderboy 3: The Dragon’s Trap.” 

It turns out that this is the 3rd (or 4th) release in the Wonder Boy/ Monster World series which originally appeared in the US on the Sega Master System (a console I, admittedly, know very little about.) I don’t want to dive into the rest of this series background here, because we will have a "Wonder Boy: Dragon’s Trap" episode of the Legend of Retro very soon! Instead, I want to take the time to give a review on this game for those of you who have hit a wall with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and need something to occupy your Switch until Mario Kart comes out later this week.

"Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap" recently launched on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. As stated earlier, it is a remaster of the original "Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap" from the Sega Master System. It is a remaster in every sense of the word; beautiful hand-drawn art, brilliantly arranged soundtrack, all in one neat little package. From what I have read and understand, very little was done to the game’s engine so the game handles the same as it did on the Master System. There are apparently a few new areas in the remaster, without being familiar with the original, I don’t know what areas are.

What I do know is how immediately I was drawn to this game. The art style alone practically took my $20 (a steal, by the way) when I first saw it. Then I started to play the game and was almost instantly familiar with the classic plat-forming mechanics. Then, after the opening act of the game, you find yourself in the town area. This is kind of your home base. The music here I could have (and will) listen to for hours. The tunes are simple, short, catchy, and (in this remaster) beautifully arranged.

The hand drawn backgrounds really help to differentiate the areas and make each place memorable and interesting. The retro style has a lot of plain colored backgrounds that don’t help build the environment quite as well. In most cases I find myself playing with the new visuals and retro music, although sometimes the audio decision is a tough one.

If you play the game straight through, it should only take you a couple hours. That is assuming you don’t attempt to get everything. There are a ton of hidden doors throughout the game and even I had to look up a couple. This game provides an excellent challenge all while being a blast to play. If you’ve been needing to scratch your retro itch on your Switch, this is just what the doctor ordered!


Matt Alexander