Unique SNES platformer and city-builder hybrid Actraiser just got a remake

Today's Nintendo Direct was a good one for fans of retro platformers: Castlevania Advance Collection was announced and released, but arguably more exciting is the re-emergence of Actraiser. Originally released in 1990, Actraiser is a unique blend of platforming and city-building. It's a bit of a cult deep cut, so it's surprising that Square Enix has not only exhumed it, but delivered something close to a full remake.

Actraiser Renaissance boasts "remastered" 2D graphics, which is a bit of an understatement because they look thoroughly redrawn. It also features an "upgrade" to Yuzo Koshiro's soundtrack, by Koshiro himself, but you can stick to the original score if you like. As is typical for retro remakes nowadays, Actraiser Renaissance also adds a save game feature, as well as new difficulty levels.

The graphics have definitely been redone with modern tech (check out footage of the old SNES game below), and unlike the likes of Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, it doesn't look like you'll be able to toggle between the old pixel art and the new. A slight disappointment, given that the original game is only available on SNES and as a weird 2004 mobile phone port.

But it's definitely an oddity worth dipping into: the game is pretty much an even split between the "realm acts" platforming action and the "realm management" god game component. In addition to building your settlement you'll also need to defend it from enemy invasion, which adds a real-time strategy element as well. It's on Steam right now

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.