The Nintendo Switch Sega Ages line has, for the most part, been a way to honor the classics. Fantastic, iconic games, like Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Phantasy Star, Out Run, Space Harrier, and Virtua Racing have gotten new life on a system that is incredibly user-friendly and versatile. Now, Sega and M2 are going more obscure, and people should be here for it. Sega Ages: Ichidant-R is a chance at a game that has largely remained trapped in Japan for years. Now, everyone can glorify in its weirdness and share it with friends.
Sega Ages: Ichidant-R does have a story, but people don’t really have to worry about it. A princess has been kidnapped, and it is up to knights to save her. In the Arcade version, which is available in English, you go through the four stages alone or with another person. Completing the minigames brings you closer to saving the day. The Mega Drive version offers more modes, though it is only available in Japanese. There’s the standard arcade version, an RPG mode with more structure, an up to four player game, and a free area where you can sample all 20 minigames alone or with up to four people. You can try for a ranking or save replays. It’s possible to play online with others. Essentially, it has all of the basics people would expect, and each one feels like a WarioWare experience.
This is because most Sega Ages: Ichidant-R games involve reacting quickly and thinking fast while taking part in sometimes silly minigames. Each one of them only gives you a few seconds to complete a task. Some, like the composer minigame, will require you to quickly input button presses. The cracker or monkey card minigames both involve matching. You could have to count fish or people on a train. Maybe you’ll have a thief and have to see which homes he will hit on a map. There will be times when you have to build rockets, collect vases, or help a bird gather food for babies. All told, 20 minigames are available, and each has its multiplayer options to make things a little more challenging.
Now, the Mega Drive version might be daunting. It is in Japanese, after all. However, if you play the Arcade version first, it will help you get a grasp on all of the minigames and you can get through this other port without too much trouble. All you really need to know is that the main menu goes in the following order: Arcade, RPG, Multiplayer, Free, and Options. In the RPG mode, you move your character around the world map, completing challenges to collect the four stones needed to help you rescue the princess. All challenges and enemy encounters involve the minigames you encounter. As long as you remember that some controls are a little different, like the pencil sharpening game involves alternating presses of the B and Y buttons instead of rotating the left analog stick, and you’ll be fine.
Sega Ages: Ichidant-R isn’t without its limitations. There are only 20 minigames. You’re going to see some repeat as you go through the areas. But, its joyful nature is enough to make it a game with playing and owning. It covers a niche that hasn’t been filled on the Nintendo Switch yet. Each minigame round is about 25 seconds at most, with each match lasting about a minute. The games are varied enough that it won’t be about just being “good” at a particular skill to win all of them. Everyone has a chance. Plus, with every one of them having relatively simple controls, it’s a Sega Ages game you could bring up in a social setting alongside titles like Super Mario Party or a Jackbox Party Pack.
We don’t have a WarioWare Nintendo Switch game yet. We don’t know if one will ever happen. In the meantime, Sega Ages: Ichidant-R is a welcome addition to libraries. It gives people an opportunity to play a game in the series that never was released outside of Japan, going through brief, bonkers minigames alone or with friends. It is quite good in a goofy sort of way, and its budget-friendly packaging could make it a fun impulse grab for people who want something silly to play with friends.
Sega Ages: Ichidant-R is immediately available for the Nintendo Switch.