Running into curious little things when you’re scouring the internet for things to entertain you are pretty common, especially if you’re peeking through old roms of this and that or perhaps on a silly little recommendation from a friend. I’d heard of this game from one source and one source only: Game Center CX/Retro Game Master, in which Shinya Arino plays through various retro games and tries his best to complete them in one sitting. The game done on that particular episode was Bio-Miracle Bokuette Upa(Bio-Miracle: I’m Upa!), which is… a very curious game, as you can probably tell from the image to the left of this paragraph. Still, I’ve got some things to say in regards to this curious little game, which can be found on the Nintendo Wii Shop.
Bio-Miracle Upa(simplified as such from hereon) is a platformer that came out in 1993 for the Famicom Disk System where you play as a little baby named Upa, who uses a rattle to attack enemies in various stages. Unlike weapons in most platformers, this does not necessarily kill the enemy immediately; rather, it inflates the enemy into a balloon-like state and causes it to float upwards. While in this state, Upa can jump on top of the enemy and ride it to areas otherwise inaccessible, across pits, or to jump over a very tall obstacle. You can also leap into the enemy from behind, essentially giving it a big shove and making it careen through the air - this can defeat other enemies, but it can also cause the inflated enemy to bounce around and even hit you!
Upa starts with a simple two hearts, but can acquire heart items to refill his life entirely and add an extra heart to his maximum, up to five hearts - these are lost whenever you start a new world, however. There are also Milk bottles, which restore a single heart, Hourglasses which freeze all enemies, Apples give you some bonus points, Bells make Upa run and invincible for a short duration and the Scorpion Block defeats all enemies on-screen when you push it down onto the ground from a higher point. Items generally rest within blocks, but sometimes enemies will drop one or two as you traverse through the levels.
Speaking of levels, the levels are very childishly designed - almost storybookish by NES standards, with one world’s stages completely designed around cake, from eating your way through layers and layers of delicious cream cake or hopping around on cookies and bouncing on gelatin! Anyways, despite the clear cute factor that Bio-Miracle Upa has, there’s also a fair amount of difficulty in the game. It doesn’t have too much to do with the enemies, but rather the platforming; there are some seriously tricky jumps you’re going to have to make, some involving the clever use of your rattle to inflate an enemy on some very narrow landing spots. The bosses are fairly straight-forward but not horribly difficult either… however, you cannot harm them or inflate them with Upa’s rattle. Instead, you have to inflate an enemy that will spawn, and bank it off of walls or directly into the boss in order to do damage.
The issues I have with Bio-Miracle Upa are basically the fact that the music does get a little repetitive at times, and if you couple that with not a particularly broad variety of enemies, it can seem pretty samey in some spots. However, I don’t really think this detracts too much from the actual game, so I wasn’t particularly bothered in my playthroughs. It is however, somewhat short if you know what you’re doing, and it’s entirely possible for the unfocused player to wind up getting a couple of continues, especially with the more difficult platforming in later levels. Regardless, on the Sliding Scale of Enjoyment(tm), I give Bio-Miracle: I’m Upa! a cake-filled…