Knowledgable ghost-hunting gamers are aware that Luigi’s Mansion launched on the GameCube and has never had a 2D installment. But what if our scared green pal showed up a bit earlier, perhaps on the Game Boy Color? It might’ve looked a little something like Tres-Bashers.
In a year jam-packed with Metroidvanias, Tres-Bashers (like “trespassers” but with “bash”) is the most throw-back of the bunch. The graphics are in the ballpark of the Game Boy Color’s 160x144 resolution, which, when run natively on a modern monitor, looks about the size of a postage stamp. But the sharp pixels are lovely when boosted to full-screen size, and then you can appreciate the true glory of this wacky monster hunter.
The premise: You’re a mouse who also happens to hunt and destroy cryptids for profit. Your latest case brings you to a local school, which is positively infested with demons, ghosts and, for some reason, cassowaries. From there it’s a matter of going room to room to clear out the critters.
With you on this journey is your trusty one-two punch: A bat and a flashlight. The flashlight can be used to reveal the beasts, but unlike Luigi — who would carefully suck up ghosts with his vacuum — once a monster is revealed in Tres-Bashers you must beat the crap out of it with your bat until it dies.
There’s a tremendous satisfaction to be found when smacking in the face of a Jersey Devil, only to have it burst open and drop a bunch of coins or a useful key. The controls in Tres-Bashers feel responsive and impactful, and every bat swing has a surprising heft to it, akin to Ness’s bat swing in Smash Bros.
There’s also the magic of exploring this school, which is open-ended and hiding upgrades that allow you to access new classrooms and hidden passageways. There’s even a Resident Evil 4-style vendor who will pop up randomly and offer you sweet enhancements for your hard-earned monster bucks.
In a year that’s packed with incredible, bigger-budget Metroidvanias like Metroid Dread, it’s cool to see something swoop in and take the genre in a totally different direction. If you’re looking for something appropriately themed for the days leading up to Halloween, this cute little adventure is well worth your time. You can find it on Itch.io and Steam.