ActRaiser Renaissance is a pleasant surprise for SNES fans, and it's out right now


A revival of the legendary Super Nintendo original for Switch, PS4, PC, and mobile

My biggest surprise at today’s Nintendo Direct, by far, was Square Enix’s reveal and insta-release of ActRaiser Renaissance — an unlikely return of the action-platformer-meets-heavenly-town-builder-sim ActRaiser. It’s a Super Nintendo classic — no “cult” needed.

The developer is calling this a “remaster,” but I feel like that undersells the new look.

ActRaiser Renaissance is out now for $30. Not just on Nintendo Switch, but on PS4, PC, iOS, and Android, too. Square Enix is excluding Xbox players again, however.

As before, this is a game with two major facets: side-scrolling action, which was very era-appropriate, and town-building, which was pretty novel back in the day on SNES. Even now, when you think about combining these two ideas into one cohesive whole, ActRaiser is what comes to mind. It’s been done elsewhere — like in SolSeraph — but sparingly.

Renaissance isn’t a one-to-one recreation of the original ActRaiser, to the point where, again, I’d be more willing to call it a remake than a remaster. But to each their own.

Real-time town-defense battles in ActRaiser Renaissance

Along with new content — including new levels, magic, another boss, 15 new tracks from composer Yuzo Koshiro, and a “real-time strategic battles” feature called Settlement Siege — ActRaiser Renaissance also brings some modern touches like an auto-save, difficulty settings, and dodging. Music-wise, expect classic tracks and rearrangements.

I was initially caught off-guard by the chunky-pixel art style in the action-platforming sequences, but it’s interesting, for sure. It’s a choice. I respect that.

I’m really curious to see how this game meets forever fans’ expectations, how it resonates with all-new players, and whether there’s more to come for ActRaiser as a series.