Contra Returns review: A modern take on the cult classic platformer

Fight like a warrior in the new sequel the classic Contra series

When Contra Returns came out, one of the questions people had in mind was if it would take you back in time and have that nostalgia factor. The game takes inspiration from the original Contra game of the yesteryears and then adds a modern touch to it. However, keeping in mind the right number of coats of paint to be applied is very important here, and adding too many modern elements might kill off the nostalgia factor. This game does make a lot of big changes. A lot. But is it too much? Here in this article, we will review Contra Returns and share our first impressions of the game.

Contra truly Returns but with a new remastered and enhanced look

Starting off with the review, right from the beginning you’ll notice how modernized Contra Returns is. The graphics style, main menu (fun little detail- physically moving your phone on the main menu will move the background behind your character a little using your phone’s gyroscopic abilities), and everything else looks way different from the classic version but you know what? It’s 2021 and we’ve come a far way from those times so that can be excused. However, then the game starts to tie you up into a chair and force-feed you.

contra returns review

Until the tutorial is over, players can’t change any settings or explore anything. It’s just playing levels the game wants you to play. You can’t even change the settings if the volume doesn’t feel right! The gameplay itself is the original Contra itself but with redefined graphics and different-looking high-tech enemies. Honestly, the game feels very different from the original, and the nostalgia factor counter rating doesn’t go up too high.

Team up online and go head-to-head in real time with new game modes

The classic badass characters, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, the two-man army are in the game but there are other new additions too along with weapons and other in-game items. The original Contra was just plain action but this version throws in all the elements of a game like Call of Duty Mobile. Whether that’s good or bad is debatable.

story mode levels

The game also has levels for unlocking items and in-game currencies, something which will be talked about in detail later. And before this we move to the Graphics and Audio, there’s one more thing left to mention. The dreaded energy system. There’s a lot of action and four different modes, story mode, challenge, PvP, and Team which is enough content to play around with and not get bored.

Amazing visuals, decent controls but IAPs strikes back Contra

The game has good enough graphics and the visual overhaul is obvious. The game soundtrack is the same as the original’s and that brings back memories while the voice acting isn’t the best and not very natural.

contra returns review

The controls are fairly decent but there’s a big issue that this game has. No controller support so far. Contra was a game that anyone who played, has played with a controller. Yet they can’t do the same for Contra Returns and hopefully, that will get added soon. The UI is decent too but there were some issues. For example, there’s no volume slider but simply an on/off switch.

Now the game doesn’t have ads that are expected from studios like Konami and TiMi. However, it has lots of in-app purchases and to some extent is Pay to win, which negatively affects the multiplayer aspect. Diamonds can be purchased with real money which can then be used to buy better in-game items. It is worrying that a classic game has been remastered with in-app purchases that yield unfair advantages over other players.

Final Verdict

Contra Returns is a decent game leaning towards a good game. However, it doesn’t feel like it brought back the old game or has that nostalgia factor. It seems to be a game with some borrowed elements but with too many in-app purchases. That and no controller support were some of the biggest issues while overall the game felt like any modern title out there when the OG Contra game was something that stayed in the minds of gamers and was pure action.

New content isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But throwing in too many new skins and guns and forgetting the key features a game like Contra should have had isn’t good. The addition of an energy system is also not a very cool thing and it only restricts gameplay.

Hopefully, the pay-to-win aspect of the game will be balanced a bit and controller support is added. Also, better UI and more visual and audio customizations should be worked on too. Overall, Contra Returns is a decent game but it doesn’t exactly deliver the same experience the classic game did but for what it’s worth, it’s a good platformer.

What are your opinions on the Contra Returns game and your review of it? Do let us know in the comments!

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