Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes – Black Dandelion & Bubblegum Fatale DLC Review – Missing Pieces
When details first emerged about Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes assemblage of game types the reaction from audiences was mixed, to say the least.
When the game finally made its way onto the Switch earlier this year those mixed reactions were fully realised. Critics and fans alike were divided on Suda51’s latest foray into game design.
I personally found it to be a charmingly odd experience. In my review, I noted that it was occasionally uneven in design though ultimately a blast to play. Suda’s rejection of a traditional No More Heroes style campaign allowed the game to embrace its own brand of strange, mixing different aesthetics and gameplay styles to form its own unique identity.
Now, both promised DLC packs for the game have been released and while the additional content is welcome, it may be a little too familiar to justify its separate asking price.
Travis Strikes Again DLC Review
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes wasn’t exactly thin on content in the base game. Between the core levels and the text adventures, there was a decent amount of game to enjoy. With these two DLC packs, the content available doesn’t jump by a huge amount but the additions it does make are solid.
With that said, as with most DLC packs the question of value arises. For those who purchased a physical copy of the game, or the digital deluxe edition, the DLC content is available free of charge. For those who didn’t, however, this new content will come at an additional $15.00 AUD cost.
This Season Pass nets you two new characters, new combat techniques and additions to both the text-based and combat levels of the game. This new content is mostly of the same quality as in the base game but there isn’t quite enough of it to make its segmentation into a DLC pack feel worth it.
Stop and Smell the Dandelions
The two DLC packs included in the game’s season pass both bring new additions to Travis Strikes Again‘s divisive text portions as well as new playable characters and levels. The first of the two DLC packs, Black Dandelion, is lighter on content than the second but its added text adventure, titled Badman Strikes Back, is exceptionally well written.
As the title implies, this time the text-adventure follows Travis’ sidekick Badman through a ridiculous, yet surprisingly emotional journey. As well as being well written this story will run players a solid half hour or so, providing a lengthy bit of lore for fans to dive into.
Unfortunately, the text portion of the second DLC pack, Bubblegum Fatale, is little more than a means to an end and fails to live up to even the base game’s standards.
A Challenger Approaches
For those who perhaps didn’t vibe with the overly detailed text adventures, the Season Pass delivers on the promise of more action orientated gameplay too. These DLC packs add two characters ripped straight from the wild No More Heroes universe; the samurai wielding Shinobu Jacobs and Badman’s daughter, Bad Girl.
Functionally speaking, both of these new characters play in much the same way as Travis and Badman, using a combination of light and strong attacks. Both characters bring a small but refreshing array of power moves to your arsenal too. Unlocking these powers can be a little tricky, especially Bad Girls, but for the most part, the new content will be available provided you’ve finished the main story.
Which is fantastic news for those looking for a fresh way to enjoy the campaign again through the new New Game plus mode. Getting to start over again with a whole new character to level up and customise felt great, even if the new powers to choose from felt a little restricted.
Bubblegum Fatale also delivers a brand new level to fight your way through. Those who played through the campaign will recall the unfinished level Killer Marathon which served as a joke about Unity and the perils of development. Well with the latest DLC pack, Killer Marathon is finally finished and it is a doozy of a level.
The new and improved Killer Marathon is easily the hardest level in Travis Strikes Again but with that difficulty, spike comes great rewards. On the whole, the presentation of Killer Marathon is spectacular, diving deeper into the crazy premise of the game than ever before.
The opening cut scene which accompanies the level is a fantastic ode to old school Manga with art that left me feeling both nostalgic and pumped for what was ahead of me.
The actual level itself consists of several stages which showcase the game’s toughest enemies and keen eye for level design. Even with a higher level character, these stages will prove difficult though the challenge only ever teeters on brutal and remains a blast throughout.
Along with the improved level design, Killer Marathon also sports some of the game’s best aesthetic work and packs more than a few surprises in there.
Beyond the obvious additions to the game, the DLC packs also add some smaller changes to the overall presentation. A cute, if somewhat shallow, customisation option in the base game saw Travis changing the T-Shirt he wore underneath his jacket. With the two DLC packs installed players will have access to a variety of new shirts based on Nintendo titles and some indie darlings too.
My Travis sported a very cute Majora’s Mask T-shirt for instance.
Elsewhere players will find new cutscenes added to the campaign which provide some fun Easter egg style discoveries for those on their second playthrough. Along with the additional characters and levels, the two DLC packs add some fun variety to Travis Strikes Again and never failed to amuse.
With that said, the new content still feels as though it would have been better suited if it were included in the base game. The story beats it fills in are almost essential to reach an emotionally satisfying ending with the core story. Beyond that, the minor updates to combat powers and the two unlockable characters aren’t quite as game-changing as I would have liked.
These gripes aren’t dealbreakers though, and for those looking for more from Travis Strikes Again, this DLC content will undoubtedly scratch the itch. Even if when all is said and done you may be wondering why it wasn’t included in the game in the first place.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Season Pass was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a digital code provided by the publisher.
Game title: Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
Killer Marathon level - 9/10
New playable characters - 7/10
Minimal changes to combat powers - 5/10
Story finished by DLC - 5/10