Evercade Game of the Month 2023 #3: Big2Small
Happy June! It’s time for another Game of the Month for Evercade VS and Evercade EXP players!
Game of the Month is a programme for Evercade VS and Evercade EXP owners where you can download a free game every month between April and December. You can enjoy the full version of each game without limits for a month, at which point it will be replaced with a brand new game. In February 2024, all of the Game of the Month titles from 2023 will be collected together for the Indie Heroes 3 cartridge, together with a few cartridge-exclusive games to sweeten the deal even further, and you’ll be able to add them to your Evercade library permanently!
The third Game of the Month title for 2023 is Big2Small, a puzzle game originally designed for 8-bit handheld. It comes to us from developer MDSteele and publisher The Retro Room, who also ported the game to other platforms. If that latter name sounds familiar, you’ll have come across their previous work in our two Indie Heroes collections: foul-mouthed RPG Quest Arrest in Indie Heroes Collection 1 and challenging platformer Gelatinous: Humanity Lost in Indie Heroes Collection 2.
MDSteele originally developed Big2Small as a hobby project on the aforementioned 8-bit handheld, but it soon became apparent to John Roo of The Retro Room that this was a high-quality title that deserved to be enjoyed by a wider audience. Thus, the pair worked together to not only publish the original 8-bit handheld edition of the game, but also to bring it to a selection of other consoles, including fan favourite 64-bit and 128-bit platforms.
The concept behind Big2Small is simple. Three animals — Elle the Elephant, Gisele the Goat and Melanie the Mouse — are hungry, and it’s up to you to help them cooperate and get to their favourite foods across a series of increasingly challenging levels.
Elle likes peanuts, Gisele likes apples and Melanie likes cheese. In order to solve each level, you must place all the animals present on that stage atop their favourite food — and by place, we mean place! Just passing over the top of them is no good; they need to be stopped.
This is relevant, because in the world of Big2Small, Elle, Gisele and Melanie cannot stop moving once they have started proceeding in a particular direction — unless they are blocked by an obstacle or another animal.
There’s another twist, too: certain animals can interact with certain obstacles to take advantage of them or clear them out of the way. Gisele, for example, can hop over rivers, while Melanie can sneak through mouseholes.
Playing Big2Small is simple. Select a stage from the world map using the D-Pad and the B button. On each stage, select an animal with the A and B buttons and start them moving in a particular direction with the D-pad. That’s all you need to know! The challenge of the game comes through the stage design, which starts simple but quickly becomes surprisingly fiendish!
The game unfolds across 6 different areas, each with their own unique scenery features and obstacles to deal with. Take particular care in the final area, as it’s full of mousetraps that will cause Melanie to disappear in a puff of smoke! If this happens, your only option is to restart the puzzle; to do this, hit Start to pause the game and then choose Reset or Quit from the menu with the D-pad and B button.
The basic aim of the game is simply to complete all the puzzles. But if you really want to consider yourself a Big2Small pro, you’ll want to take aim for a star on each level. In order to obtain these stars, you’ll need to complete each puzzle within the “par” number of moves indicates on the pause screen.
In order to achieve 100% completion of the game, you’ll need to achieve stars on not only all the main levels of the game, but also the bonus stages! The bonus stages for each area are unlocked by earning sufficient stars in that same region, so if you’re aiming for that 100% score, you’ll naturally stumble across them.
The game also features an ongoing story with dialogue between the animals. Once you’ve solved a puzzle once, you can replay that stage without having to see the conversation again. If you do happen to want to see the conversation again, press Start while entering the puzzle from the world map.
And that’s Big2Small! With a variety of levels to challenge, this tricky puzzler should keep you busy for a while. Our top tip is not to worry too much about the par scores to begin with — just get used to how the animals move and their various capabilities, then focus on simply solving each level. If you’re really stuck, think about the last moves you’d need to make in a level in order to complete it, then try working backwards from there to figure out what you need to do to set up that situation. Good luck!
To get started with Big2Small and the Game of the Month programme for 2023, connect your Evercade VS or EXP to the Internet via the Network option in Settings, then perform a system update to the latest available firmware version. When you’re all updated, you’re ready to go — start the game through the VS or EXP logo on the left of the main Evercade menu and get ready to enjoy some tricky puzzling!
Please note that saves from the Game of the Month edition of Big2Small will not carry across to the Indie Heroes 3 cartridge when that releases in February of 2024.
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