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Review: Contra Returns

Contra Returns is a game I have been lucky enough to have my hands on for a few months. It’s finally out and I could not wait to talk about it. Reviewed on iOS.


The name Contra brings back so many memories. Contra on the NES was the first game I truly fell in love with. My mother and I played through the game countless times and I am going to try real hard to get her to play this with me. It’s not overly complicated and fits the mobile platform well so let’s hope she can do it.

The controls are simple. One side of your screen to move the other side for actions. The touch controls never got in the way of each other and you can fully customize button placement and size. The game has a very generous aim assist that can be turned off if you want but I loved it turned on. For a mobile action game, this game controlled well above average for me.

The story mode here is where the game truly shines. There is a lot of dialogue, some of it is even voice acted fairly well, other parts you just need to read but the story it’s putting in front of you does its job in getting you from point A to B. The game starts with the most nostalgic level they could. A recreation of the first level of NES Contra. It looks stunning and true to the source. We often look back at games and say I can’t believe I thought this looked good. Playing this level is what my brain felt like Contra looked like, it’s really brilliant.

There are a lot of boss battles in the game. When you approach a boss the game does the perfect nostalgia move. It shows you what the boss looked like in its original form and where its origin was. This was my favorite part of a boss battle.

The game is free to play but did make it very far before feeling I hit any kind of wall on progressing the story. The wall I hit had nothing to do with spending money it was about not having a high enough level to progress. For a good chunk of the beginning of the game when you beat a level it grants you enough experience to level up and unlock the next stage. As I got further into the campaign just beating a level once did not give me enough and I was grinding out experience to be able to unlock that next stage. The grind never felt like it was trying to get money from me and honestly, the grind was always fun for me.

The other part of the game was it's multiplayer. This was the part of the game I had significantly less fun with. There are a few modes but only one was fun and even then it could be better and in time I hope it gets there.

There is a 1V1 PVP mode that has you battling it out with one other player. This never felt rewarding even if I had a dominating win. It was just something I would do to complete the daily quest to get some currency.

There is also a 1V1 auto battler that also seemed pretty pointless except for completing a daily quest.

The most fun I had came from the cooperative mode. You play through a couple of levels online with a partner. This is a mode I can't wait to try out with some friends.

Everything your doing is allowing you to progress. Gain experience gain money all on your quest to get more guns and powerful guns. There is a lot of guns to find and use.

There is a lot to this game, there is so much to do and discover that I'm looking forward to Contra Returns future to see what gets added and what gets improved as everyone jumps in.


Contra Returns hits all the nostalgia notes and then more. A great story mode is enough to carry this game over the lackluster multiplayer. Not every game needs multiplayer and I wish the developers here realized. If you ever played a contra game in the past, get ready for the memories to come flooding back.

Final Score 9/10

There are so many more games to talk about! We do our best to talk about as many as possible on our Podcast Game Bites. If you're looking for reviews, check out my review for Halo Reach as I start my journey through the world of Halo.

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