The Action 52 cartridge for the NES, which bundled together 52 “new and original” games back in the early 1990s, may have stunk — but this isn’t stopping a crew of developers from updating the idea nearly 30 years later. Mossmouth Games, the developer responsible for the tough platformer Spelunky, is planning to release UFO 50 next year. This modern compilation features 50 “new and original” games that all feature a retro 8-bit style. But unlike the Action 52, you will probably find some quality here.
Mossmouth is publishing UFO 50, and everyone on the development team is working on two or more of the games. Spelunky found success on PC with more than 650,000 copies sold on Steam alone (it’s also on other platforms, such as the PlayStation 4). That comes after the game debuted to much acclaim on the Xbox 360. Downwell, a platforming shooter from developer Moppin (who is working on UFO 50), has sold 200,000 copies on Steam. Downwell, which was one of our favorite mobile games of 2015, sold tens of thousands of copies on iOS and Android as well.
UFO 50 will cover genres such as shooters, platformers, puzzlers, and sports. Many will also include cooperative or competitive multiplayer. It will hit PC in 2018, but you can expect on other platforms soon after. Mossmouth hasn’t announced a price, but it is telling fans to expect a significant amount of content. It’s not a minigame collection.
“In general, the games are slightly smaller than commercial 8-bit titles from the ’80s,” the development team wrote in a blog post. “But rest assured that they are full games and not microgames or minigames. Completing the entire collection could easily take over a hundred hours.”
But beyond the length of the compilation, UFO 50 is exciting because of the concept that the developers are promising to adhere to.
“The story of UFO 50 is that the games were all created in the ’80s by a fictional company that was obscure but ahead of its time,” the studio explained. “They’re all connected by a unique 32-color palette and other restrictions we decided on to make them feel more authentic.”
We’ve seen those kinds of artificial limitations lead to excellent results previously with games like Shovel Knight. While taking some liberties, developer Yacht Club Games tried to build Shovel Knight as if it were going to launch on the Nintendo Entertainment System. If anything in UFO 50 is as fun as Shovel Knight, I must have it — hopefully it doesn’t cost $200 like Action 52 did when it first debuted (“less than $4 per game!”).