Review: Sigi – A Fart for Melusina

Paying tribute to Super Mario World and Ghosts ‘n Goblins with a flatulent flourish, Sigi – A Fart for Melusina is a 2D platformer that replicates the retro vibe of the classics without feeling all old, slow, and crusty. It’s only problem is a hero with a serious case of intestinal gas expulsion.

No joke, an uncontrollable fart-bomb is literally the story’s jumping-off point. Sigi the knight’s rip-roaring quest begins with a fateful encounter with the buxom mermaid Melusina, his one true love. Unfortunately for Sigi, building bowel pressure causes him to uncork a wicked fart, interrupting Melusina’s beautiful waterside serenade and scaring away the target of his affection. It’s like that scene from the movie Step Brothers where Brennan and Dale are interviewing for a job and have it seemingly locked up until Dale cranks out one of the strangest farts you’ll ever hear. Sigi might have had his lady of the water, if only he could’ve held it in for a little while longer. The poor, gassy fellow doesn’t give up, though, pursuing Melusina for another shot at love and redemption.

This is a straightforward side-scroll platformer, featuring tight two-button controls–one to jump, one to shoot–spanning an even tighter adventure of 20 quick-hitting stages, navigated a node at a time from a classic level select world map. Stages are populated by baddies such as skeletons, zombies, bats, snakes, spiders, witches, ghosts, and crows that drop poop bombs from the sky. While dispatching enemies, you also need to traverse moving and collapsing platforms, catapult off of bouncy tires, launch from cannons, dodge swinging blades, avoid falling boulders, and leap over spikes.

Sigi survives on a life bar of three hearts, food collectibles snacked on restoring any lost health along the way. Enemies and traps do a heart of damage per hit, while falling into water or bottomless pits snatches away a whole life. You’ve got a limited pool of lives to beat the game with. Every 100 coins collected adds an extra life to the pool. These are all common elements you’ve come to expect from the genre.

Our gas-passing hero has a small arsenal of projectile medieval weapons at his disposal, much like that of GnG‘s Sir Arthur, including a sword, spread-shot daggers, ball and chain, and the mighty (or not so much) chicken drumstick, which are acquired and equipped one at a time from pick-ups located throughout the stages, as well as inside treasure chests. Each weapon has a distinct throwing trajectory and power, but except for the lousy drumstick there really isn’t a drawback to any of the others. Some weapons are better in certain areas, against certain enemies, but having one weapon over another never feels like a major advantage or disadvantage. If all else fails, a simple jump on an enemy’s noggin’ also does the trick.

Before you ask, no, Sigi’s farts cannot be weaponized–they’re for potty humor charm only. And charming they are, fueled by a perfect gag fart sound effect that’s disgusting yet cute and funny at the same time. If anyone out there gives an award for Best Fart Sound, this game should be the frontrunner to take home the grand prize. You’ll be hearing it constantly too, Sigi ripping one off with every food item gobbled up, and cutting loose a triumphant victory fart after reaching the Weenies food truck awaiting him with tasty foodstuffs at the finish line to each stage.

Instead of the frustratingly punitive stun lock mechanic of the past, taking damage causes Sigi to do a little bounce or side hop, and also flash for a few frames of invulnerability so you have a moment to react and get out of harm’s way. Checkpoint gravestones are provided frequently, so you’re never put into a position of having to redo large chunks of gameplay.

For a game inspired by excessively difficult platformers of yore, it’s rather surprising just how exceedingly easy it is. You begin with a mere three lives, and running out anywhere along the way results in a game over. However, coins are so plentiful that every opportunity is given to stockpile lives to the point that any potential late stumbles or struggles against any of the four moderately resistant bosses don’t matter. I ended the game with something like 70-plus extra lives left unused. I get the casual slant to appeal to a broader audience, but some form of a hardcore mode with more demanding limitations would be a great option to have.

Sigi’s quest of love and flatulence passes by in a jiffy, but like a stanky fart it has the potential to linger longer than it at first lets on. Even taking your time, the first playthrough won’t last more than an hour. Once you know where everything is, speedrunning within 15-20 minutes is an easily attainable goal. A leaderboard offers incentive for speedrunners to replay, while completionists and achievement hunters have worthwhile collectibles to go back for, extending play time by another hour or two. Each stage has four letter icons to collect, spelling out SIGI. Secret treasure caves can be found hidden behind breakable walls in most levels. Trickiest of all is a bonus quest consisting of a few holy artifacts you’ll need a keen eye to uncover.

While Sigi – A Fart for Melusina doesn’t exactly push twitch platforming skills to the limit with a high degree of difficulty, what it does do is appeal to old school sensibilities while at the same time avoiding getting mired in the foibles of outdated game design. The game’s short, sweet, and just a plain ol’ goofy good time. The endearing pixel art is another strong point for sure, capturing the essence of 8- and 16-bit graphics with a sharpness of detail and smoothness of animation that gives the look a higher quality finish than a pure retro nostalgia play. I especially adore Sigi’s character design, an appropriately bloated crossbreed between Mario and Sir Arthur. How can you not want to root and toot for the guy?

BuyIt

Pros:
+ Tight, simple 2D platforming
+ Sigi and his constant toots are so endearing
+ Built for speedrunning and collectible/secret discovery
+ Charming pixel art, animation, and chiptunes

Cons:
– Never presents much of a challenge

Game Info:
Platform: PC (Xbox One version in the works)
Publisher: pixel.lu
Developer: pixel.lu
Release Date: 12/22/2017
Genre: 2D Platformer
Players: 1

Source: A Steam code for Sigi – A Fart for Melusina was provided to VGBlogger.com for review consideration by pixel.lu.

Buy From: Steam for $2.99.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!