A character made famous (or infamous!) in a maddeningly fast-paced button basher not unlike Flappy Bird – albeit chopping down trees instead of attempting to fly through precariously positioned gaps – Timberman is now taking centre stage in this retro-styled 2D platformer from Digital Melody Games (and published by Forever Entertainment, who kindly provided me with the game for review purposes).

Timberman: The Big Adventure sees our bearded hero (or a bear clad in dungarees, if you choose) taking on the ruthless Evil Corp, in order to save the forest from industrialisation. Never mind that Timberman also chops down trees himself, albeit at a less alarming rate than Evil Corp – the point is that you’ll be taking on a colourful, mechanically varied platform adventure either alone or in two player co-op mode.

Given how limited and repetitive both Timberman and Timberman VS were, it comes as a genuine surprise that, almost immediately, Timberman: The Big Adventure is a genuinely fun, really well-designed platformer that hearkens back to the 16-bit glory days of the genre. It’s feels great to play, there’s an absolute ton of secrets and collectibles to uncover on every level and you can even play the original Timberman on hidden arcade machines that you discover on your adventure.

Timberman and his bear buddy have a decent repertoire of moves and attacks, covering both melee and ranged combat; fighting against enemies is surprisingly crunchy and satisfying despite the game’s cutesy appearance.

Again, perhaps surprising given the cute, colourful and charming aesthetic, the game’s levels can become pretty challenging in their design; even early on, you may find yourself struggling to locate all of the letters in the word ‘TIMBER’, which – in proper old school style – are found, in order, dotted throughout each stage.

Given its cost – it’s available on Nintendo Switch for just $4.99 – there’s also a lot of game here; it does feel as if Digital Melody Games are making amends for their prior lo-fi, low on content Timberman games.

It’s a game that’ll please retro gamers who long for the old days of mascot-led 16-bit platformers – but newer, younger gamers should also get a good amount of value out of Timberman: The Big Adventure. It offers an awful lot of bang for your buck – and even makes me want a sequel sooner rather than later!

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