The VideoKid Switch Review: Back to Nostalgia

A skate down memory lane as you pick up the skateboard in The Videokid to relive the 80s while delivering VHS goodies. Bliss.

It goes without saying that nostalgia is a cash cow, specifically pop culture. Only one look at the shelves in the toy stores or gadget shops and there’s a wall of Funko Pop! everywhere – characters from Rocko’s Modern Life to the original Lion King, there’s something for everyone.

As an 80s/90s kid, my era is stuff like The Goonies, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and Back to the Future. Well, two out of three are represented here in The VideoKid Switch review, a game by Pixel Trip Studios.

The VideoKid is a throwback to everything that is the 80s, only with a sharper and brighter palette compared to the 8-bit era. Hell, it’s even better than the 16-bit too. You play the role of a skateboarding kid who delivers videotapes. Yeah, you might need to look up VHS, but that’s what films used to be supplied on other than disc or via streaming services. You could say that those are the first differences to the classic Paperboy game that The Videokid clearly pays homage to; The VideoKid uses a skateboard and delivers tapes whereas the former is on a bike and throws rolled-up newspapers. Very different.

But that’s a good thing. Paperboy is an arcade classic for a reason. Well, many reasons and one of those was that it was so bloody hard. The VideoKid is hard too, but the controls are a little tighter, if still basic. Your character will continue to skate up the screen in an isometric layout and your role as an uber gamer is to jump obstacles or swerve out of the way by hitting left or right to change lane. Most objects can be jumped, but a few of the towering ones needed to be avoided as should you end up crashing, it’s game over.

A biker gang 'just passing' in The Videokid
Biker Mice From Mars lost their rodent attributes

The VideoKid Switch Review Starts Here

So, old school rules too as unlike all the trending permadeaths and souls-like gameplay, The VideoKid takes us back to when you only had one life and would then need to put in another coin. Of course, as a console game, you can play for as long as you want, unlike Paperboy in the arcades. My not so fond memories had me die within the first minute or so and in fear of an angry mob, I’d slide on over to APB or Ikari Warriors as they weren’t as popular.

Getting back to the goal. As a delivery person of sorts, you need to throw tapes into the mailboxes around the local neighbourhood to earn points. Don’t worry about accuracy too much as you can spam it and in the process build a higher score by hitting random NPCs or breakable objects. The overall goal, however, is to meet up with your girlfriend. I’ll raise my hand now and let you know that I haven’t finished the game yet – I can’t get close enough to a win, but I’ve certainly played enough of The VideoKid to have an opinion – this is a grind-fest!

Also, there’s only one map, but it’s super long. Much longer than Paperboy, but of a similar structure. Unlike Paperboy, however, there are a few detour routes via the sewer which features oversized crocodiles and of course, mutant turtles. It breaks up the scenario a little, despite the very many pop culture references you’ll find along the way.

Ooze found in the sewers
Hit that and you can expect to become a ninja

By The Power Of Grayskull

There are so many “wasn’t that…?” moments where you recognise a character from the past. They serve no function other than a bit of nostalgia. In my very many playthroughs, I saw Thundercats, Inspector Gadget, Herbie, the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, Optimus Prime… the list goes on. Every once in a while there are characters that appear to be familiar, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint who they were. Although they don’t always serve a purpose other than being a little nod to your childhood, the sheer variety is a delight and has you reminiscing enough until you crash once more.

This same nod to beloved characters carries over to the upgrade side of things. During the game, other than building up a score and delivering your videotapes, you can collect money that can be used towards buying a new skin for your character or additional moves. Personally, I wasn’t fussed about the moves but was keen to change my character to the likes of Teen Wolf, Rambo or the ultimate prize She-Ra.

But, these things come at a price and it takes an age to get enough money to unlock anything worth having, hence the grind-fest. And no, that’s not a dad pun about it being skateboard based. A lot of the time you can’t earn enough unless you get at the very least, halfway through the stage (there’s an ongoing distance travelled notification at the top of the screen). Each new skin doesn’t change the gameplay other than it being another reference to a character from yesteryear. It’s a nice option to have.

The Videokid Switch review: The shop to go for upgrades in The Videokid
Nostalgia upgrades!

Done With Deliveries

With only one stage and unlockables that hardly change the gameplay, is it worth your time? Yes, I certainly think so. I sat down to play this with the whole family and even my non-gamer wife got involved as the controls are so simple and the blocky graphics cute enough to pique her interest. Be aware that frustration comes hand in hand with the game though as underestimating an obstacle only to smack into it seconds later when you’re 90% finished is infuriating.

It’s also quite easy to get distracted at the characters on-screen too. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be reliving your childhood shouting out to anyone listening to your useless trivia of a particular franchise. But, like this type of nostalgia, it’s all relative and unless others shared your experience the first time around, you might get the odd frown or indifferent response. Forget them, they weren’t there, man.