Ah, Bud Spencer & Terence Hill… one of cinema’s most iconic duos in the 1970s and the ’80s. The two starred in eighteen movies together that have thrilled and entertained audiences of all ages for decades. Of course, if you’re looking for a Slaps And Beans 2 review, you probably know who they are and that this game is made for you. If you don’t know who they are and are only here because of the recent beat-em-up revival, you really ought to go and familiarise yourself with their filmography first.
Spencer & Hill became famous for their light-hearted, slapstick, action-comedies. Adventures that covered the wonderful years of spaghetti westerns to more modern faire (modern back in the late ’80s that is). Now, Slaps and Beans 2 brings the pair back together for another digital adventure in the style of the classic movies they made.
Slaps and Beans 2 is the epitome of the “made by fans, for fans” design. As with the original, this isn’t just a tie-in, but a love letter to the work of Spencer & Hill. That developers Trinity Team are huge fans of the duo is evident in every aspect of the production, and what they’ve created amounts to an interactive beat-em-up movie, replete with a crazy story, plenty of cut-scenes, and tons of slaps to go around.
It plays out like a movie saga, with the game kicking off right after the end of its predecessor. Our heroes have been stranded in Africa and they now need to find a way home. Cue a banana hijacking racket, cases of mistaken identity, a madman with world domination plans, and you have an international adventure of gut-busting proportions.
What separates Slaps and Beans 2 from so many other beat-em-ups and brawlers, is the focus on story. Which is to say there’s a proper narrative flow here, that pulls you organically from one level and situation to the next. Well as logical as a game featuring a banana stealing racket can be. There are a lot of in-game cut-scenes and voiced dialogue too, with the writers trying – to varying degrees of success – to emulate the tone and humour of the movies. While not all of the jokes land, there’s enough here to ground you in this adventure’s light-hearted absurdity.
Combat is, as it should be, the entertaining highlight. There are plenty of interactible objects to use, such as wooden poles and beer glasses, while a fair amount of the environment can be destroyed or used in combat to pull off specific moves, such as Hill’s “horse kick”. Combat does lack the flashiness we’ve come to associate with modern beat-em-ups, but this is due to the game being faithful to the duo’s movie fighting style. And changing that would definitely be a big no-no.
The move set is just large enough to add depth to the game, without sacrificing its easy-to-understand play style. The game throws tons of enemies at you but there are enough power and health pick-ups to see you through. That said, you will have to keep an eye on your health gauge in the later sections of the game when it’s easy to get swarmed. Thankfully, Slaps and Beans 2 can be played in 2-player co-op but, if you can’t find someone else to join you on this adventure, the AI-player does a pretty good job of taking care of both itself and enemies.
To keep things fresh and break up the pacing, scattered throughout the game are a variety of mini-games. Like the jokes, they fall into the hit-and-miss category as well, but once unlocked, they also have their own section on the menu screen where you can play them with 2 to 4 players.
Visually, Slaps and Beans 2 is a gorgeous-looking and lavishly animated example of pixel art. The environment design is beautiful and full to the brim with plenty of little details, while the character animation is wonderfully expressive.
If there is one caveat, on the Nintendo Switch at least, it’s that it gets a little hard to make out what’s happening on-screen when the view zooms out during some of the larger fights. It gets a little hard to tell who was who, while some slowdown also occurred.
A special shout-out goes to the game’s sound design, which is full of fantastic slaps, punches, and the satisfying “oofs” that baddies let out after getting conked on the head. The soundtrack is absolutely stunning and captures the era of the movies perfectly, with many a tune staying in my head long after I’d powered off my Switch.
The voice acting is, sadly, also on the hit-and-miss side. I can’t deny that I heard most of the spoken dialogue in my head delivered by the original dub actors, as the voice acting, or rather its delivery, has that recorded-in-a-sound-booth feel. It lacks the organic chemistry of two people standing side by side and bantering mid-fight as there’s a slight delay between voice clips playing.
Some presentation gripes aside, Slaps and Beans 2 is made for a very specific audience. While it’s still a satisfying beat-em-up game that fans of the genre might enjoy, it’ll really fire on all cylinders for fans of the Spencer & Hill films. All of the jokes may not land, but the beautiful pixel art, silly story, and fun combat make this a nostalgic trip worth taking.
Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps And Beans 2 was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a code provided to gameblur by the publisher. It is also available on PC, Xbox One/Series S|X, and PlayStation 4/5.
Bud Spencer & Terence Hill - Slaps And Beans 2 (Nintendo Switch) ReviewBud Spencer & Terence Hill - Slaps And Beans 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review
- Fun combat that captures Spencer & Hills fighting styles perfectly
- Gorgeous pixel art
- Fantastic soundtrack
- Some slowdown when too many sprites on-screen
- Voice acting could have been better
- Not all the jokes land