French developer Neofid is on something of a roll when it comes to creating unique 'faux retro' games. It scored a welcome success with 2019's Demons of Asteborg and now it has returned with Astebros, a prequel to Asteborg which pushes Sega's 16-bit Mega Drive / Genesis hardware even further.
Like Asteborg, Neofid has released Astebros on modern-day systems, including Switch and Steam. However, it's the Mega Drive version which is of most interest to us here at Time Extension; we love to see old consoles blessed with brand-new games decades after they were 'abandoned' by their makers, and Astebros is a visual and aural treat which shows just how much potential there is in this vintage console, which – lest we forget – launched in 1988.
Astebros is a platforming roguelite which grants you control of three different characters. You explore the continent of Asteborg, unlocking new locations and improving your stats. Had this been released on the Mega Drive back in the day, it would have undoubtedly been celebrated as one of the best games on the system; in 2023, it's rather less unique, but still a solidly-made adventure which benefits from tight controls and a stern challenge. The visuals and sound are also noteworthy; despite the advanced age of the hardware it's running on, Astebros boasts some very neat presentation.
We were lucky enough to be sent a physical copy of the game by Neofid, which comes in authentic packaging with a full-colour manual (as well as a few goodies, like stickers and postcards). It's also worth noting that Neofid is offering the game in three regional variants – Japanese, North American and European – so you can get the version which matches your own personal collection. Each comes with a unique reversible cover and a different cartridge sticker.