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PC Engine Core Grafx Mini Review

So, I'm gonna be honest, I never played a PC Engine back in the day. Which mean that games like Alien Crush and Bonk's Revenge passed me by. But eggs are eggs and retro games are retro games and as a keen retro gamer I know quality when I see it. And the PC Engine Mini has it in spades. And what becomes clear after spending time with this machine is the fact that the PC Engine is for Shoot 'em ups what the Neo Geo is for Fighting games. There's a litany of different titles on here from stalwarts like R-Type and Space Harrier to hidden gems like Soldier Blade. And there're a lot of games on here, too, but this is where the retro console shoots itself in the foot. Overall, there's a more than generous 57 games on here, but they've not been optimised for the market they're in. Which means that 32 of the games are in Japanese, labeled as PC Engine games, whilst 25 are in English, labeled as TurboGrafx-16 games.

This isn't the deal-breaker that it could have been, because lots of the games are playable no matter what language they are, but some (Snatcher I'm looking at you) are so text-heavy that they can't be played by someone who doesn't speak Japanese. There're also some doubles on here, which I think is a bit cheeky. Unless the games were radically different, what reason would anyone have to play through Japanese and English versions of the same game. Yes on the one hand, having different regions' games makes it a more authentic experience, but on the other having ALL games optimised for the region that they're being played in would be much more preferable.

In spite of this, the PC Engine Core Grafx Mini succeeds, because, put simply, it's so much fun. Discovering a veritable treasure trove of games that I never knew existed has been a pleasure. And the machine also succeeds because it's authentic. From the joypad, which is the same as it was for the original machine (handily, considering the amount of shooting games you're going to be playing, coming with auto-firing as standard); to the region specific loading screens that change depending on what territories' games you're playing, all comes together to produce an awesome package. If you're a fan of PC Engine/Turbo Grafx-16 then this a no brainer, but, if like me, you've never experienced the machine before, then you owe it to yourself to try. You won't regret it.


Generous selection of games,

Awesome joypads,

Authentic experience


Some games unplayable because they have not been optimised for the market they're in

Some doubles


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