Vanillabeast: Ace in the Hole – Alpha (Male) Gameplay

Ready for a game that parodies the best games of the 80s/90s AND features real adult stars? Heading to Kickstarter from the 15th of March, make a note as this one ticks a ton of boxes for retro fans.

Should the indie dev overlords bless me with the power of parodying all I loved about the 80s growing up, then Vanillabeast: Ace in the Hole is what I’d come up with. That is, if I had any programming skills whatsoever. Still, I’m good at looking at stuff, so credit where due.

I posted the news about Vanilla Gaming Company’s opus and its apparent release in Q4 2023. So why am I writing about it again, well chums, I’ve had a sneak preview at one of the levels to get a feel of what it’s like. Sure, you still have to wait until next year, but that’s what Kickstarter is for.

Vanillabeast: Ace in the Hole is a parody of the 80s/90s, drawing reference from titles such as Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!Double Dragon and Samurai Champloo – all of which are designed by different artists. While there’s a multitude of titles encapsulated, there’s got to be some coherency, right?

VanillaBeast: Ace in the Hole - Kung pow
Kung pow. Source: Screen capture

You play 0069 agent VanillaBeast, and when we’re introduced to him, he’s riding a speedboat called the Motor Boater. Immediately, the tone is set, and just listening to the dialogue makes it clear that this game was made specifically for me. Vanilla is a ladies’ man, with Larry Laffer’s charm and Bond’s licence to kill. 

Without giving much away, as it could be subject to change, you have to infiltrate some bigwig’s lair by winning a card game to get their attention. The target is old bleedin’ eye himself, Le Queefe. Yep. Cue a gunfight involving a bit of duck and cover, then shooting out goons from a distance, or using your kung fu power to knock them out.

While this is going on, Vanilla communicates to Agent Juggz via a comms system similar to a Mr S Snake. As mentioned, the tone is very clearly defined, and as a Leisure Suit Larry fan, I found the gameplay very enjoyable. One thing worth noting is some of the content is NSFW. Well, if you review games and in the comfort of your own office, every day’s a boob day. I say this because there’s some adult material – mostly double entendres and censored pin-ups of Eva Notty and others. No, I’m not telling you anything about her or the other 100% REAL adult stars involved.

As for the Vanillabeast: Ace in the Hole alpha gameplay, it was a pixel art affair with a who’s who of villains – from Destro to Skeletor, I was in my element. That’s not the only treat, as the actual theme tune played at the end of the demo was spot-on too. Again, no spoilers as it might make the cut in the final game, but let’s just say it’s a reworking of a Bond theme, only written by Mr Laffer. 

So, where do we go from here? A Kickstarter kicks off this month – the 15th of March – where you can back the upcoming title. There’s some amazing rewards coming up, but I’ll post about that nearer the Kickstarter launch. If you’re an arcade fan and was ‘there man’, you’ll be pretty stoked at what one of the rewards are. That said, the game itself warrants your pennies. Yes, I spelt that right.

I had to watch the trailer multiple times for a peek at the upcoming games that include parodies of California GamesSuper Punch-Out!! and more. Check out the video below with an actual human lady in it. Out of two, I’d give her one. 

It’s never too early to add to your wishlist either, but make sure to add the notification on Kickstarter if this game gets you moist.