I want to mention first off that I have not finished this game and only put one to one and a half hours into it, but I did make it to the first boss and played through both of the level types. It is basically just two games in one, an action platforming game and a city/civilization building game. They are not all that well integrated and I think that it would of been a lot better if more actions had ramifications in both worlds. The basic premise is that you control The Master and his servant Angel on their quest to regain control of their world by defeating a group of demons. This is done by exploring dungeons and defeating demons, in the platforming segments, and rebuilding cities and gaining followers, in the city building segments.
In the platforming levels you control The Master as he navigates dungeons and underground lairs filled with monsters in search of The Evil One and his six Guardians. These segments are not very well done, with the protagonist suffering from laggy and stiff controls, and really drag down the entire game in my opinion. Not that ActRaiser is horrible, many SNES games feature laggy and stiff controls, so while it might not of aged well it is in no way a bad SNES game. The platforming is done with a side view perspective with the view centred on the protagonist and with him taking up most of the screen, and is mostly comprised of killing demons with your sword, platforming, and dodging enemies and their projectiles, and every level is capped off with a nice boss battle.
The city building segments were by far my favourite. In them you play Angel and fly around shooting monsters, directing your budding city, and launching your godlike powers onto the landscape to mold it to your will. Your goal is to snuff out the monster lairs in the vicinity, find powerful artifacts, and grow your cities population to add to your power. Overall it is somewhat simplistic but still fun and quite unique.
Overall I would say that it is an OK game, but probably not worth playing if you don’t have nostalgic memories of the game. And maybe I just did not play enough of the game, but each part of the game seemed overly simplistic and not nearly integrated enough to make up for this. But the city building was moderately unique, and actually fun, so I think the game would of benefited from dropping the platforming segments altogether.
Associated Blogs:CaptainD's PC Gaming Blog
Jonathon Wisnoski - Game Reviewer and Commentator