The first volume of the NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection was quite the surprise. My expectations for each game were on the low side since it had been decades since the portable’s library was scarcely on shelves in the states. Gamers know that portable games don’t age as gracefully as non-portable games – I figured it would be a collection of games to mess around with for a few minutes before moving onto something else. I’m glad that wasn’t the case. The same can be said for the second volume of the NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection. Again, we have access to ten games all on one tiny cartridge. The returning virtual instruction manuals, save states, and other modern features make each game perfect for quick sessions or long campaigns. Most importantly, the selection showcases a variety of genres. I didn’t care for most of the titles, but I still appreciated them being part of the collection.
Once again, I won’t be covering each aspect of each game. I’ll just mention some highlights. The first game I played features one of my favorite video game characters: Mega Man. Mega Man Battle and Fighters contains Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters. In these Mega Man spinoffs, you choose to fight between three sets of boss battles with different Robot Masters from the Mega Man series. You can play as Mega Man, Proto Man, Bass, or Duo. You’re thrown right into a 2D arena where you fight the boss robots and earn their powers upon defeat. Afterwards, you fight Dr. Wily. It’s not deep or groundbreaking, but fans of Mega Man will enjoy the tight controls, throwbacks, and the variety. The game was never released in the west so the limited dialogue is mostly in Japanese. This wasn’t a big deal; just something to keep in mind.
The second game I tried (also only available with Japanese text but, again, no biggie) was Ganbare Neo Poke-kun. This was the most bizarre game in the collection. It combines Wario Ware and Tamagotchi into a one of a kind, but often messy experience. You’re responsible for monitoring a creature that looks like Bert from Sesame Street. At random times, he’ll begin work on creating mini-games for you to play. Leaving him alone leaves him to his own devices, both good and bad. Pressing A will have random visitors drop in. Pressing B will have him run towards the screen. Following that, you’ll see the progress he’s made towards finishing various mini-games. Honestly, I didn’t spend too much time with this one because the only mini-game I unlocked was Breakout. Still, points for uniqueness.
The last game I played had me really sinking some time: Biomotor Unitron. This isn’t a fighting game. It’s a role-playing game with a sci-fi setting that has a fantastic, late 90s anime aesthetic, randomly generated dungeons, and one-on-one battles. You take control of a male and female from a fantastical race of your choice and work together to make a powerful, massive, butt kicking robot. As you go through these dungeons you can find materials from monsters and treasures to build more powerful robot parts. There’s also an arena where your Unitron can fight others for supremacy. Tack on a massive cast of NPCs with their own personalities and quirks, and you have what I think is the pinnacle of this collection. As much as I love Mega Man, Biomotor Unitron surprised me the most. I can’t wait to dive further in and, just maybe, give it its own review.
Sadly, that’s where the fun (for me) stops. The rest of the games include a soccer game, a baseball game, a wrestling game, a TCG, and a puzzle game. I dabbled a bit in the puzzle game (Puzzle Link 2) and can confirm that it’s pretty fun, but I doubt it’s something I’ll spend a lot of time with. There might not be as many games that I enjoy in comparison to the first collection, but the two games I enjoyed the most in this one more than make up for that. I can see myself spending hours on end playing Biomotor Unitron. I can see myself loading up Mega Man Battle and Fighters when I want to pass a few minutes of time with some gaming. There’s something for just about everyone in this collection, which is why I recommend it. The biggest reason I recommend it is because of its importance in gaming history. The NeoGeo Pocket Color didn’t get its time in the spotlight upon its release. These collections are solid attempts at rectifying that.
Overall, 8/10: NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Volume 2 is another collection of great games delivered in a neat, little package on a modern scale.