Combine a sense of innovation with an overwhelming sense of cute and cheesy, and you get a Nitrome game. One of their best recent creations is Dirk Valentine, a sidescroller similar to others they have worked on, such as Final Ninja or Toxic, but again, different enough to be interesting.
The familiar graphics are there, and the slightly less than fluid controls (one of Nitrome’s persistent faults) are all there. Coupled with another one of Nitrome’s strengths — cheesy, irritating, yet perfect, music and sounds, all of which fit together perfectly.
The steampunk setting of the sidescroller makes a departure from other Nitrome standards, but the game plays well, and the story progresses in a familiar fashion. You’ve got into the lair of the evil Baron to rescue the Queen, so that the cavalry can come charging in and kick some ass and until you get Her Royal Highness out, you’re on your own. Almost entirely on your own.
The twist in this game is your “chain cannon”, which acts as a mix between a cannon and a ninja-rope — only instead of making like Tarzan and swinging around, you’re building bridges when you fire that thing. Brown surfaces are valid links for building bridges while black metal surfaces cause it to bounce around. This means that you build bridges and cover terrain, bounce shots off one surface to the next, or just sock a bad guy in the face with your cannon.
There’s also teleporters — your shots get teleported, chain and all, so that you can sucker punch the bad guys and work moving platform puzzles.