This Mass Effect GBA demake takes cues from Advance Wars

Advance Effect - that’s what happens when combining the early 2000s aesthetic of Game Boy Advance strategy game Advance Wars and 2007's Mass Effect. A mockup from the YouTube animation team 64 Bits envisions a Commander Shepard adventure that’s just that, a 2001 pixely drama with the Mass Effect cast.

Eschewing its Xbox 360 era style, Mass Effect’s turn-based strategy form recreates the mission to Virmire and Shepard’s decisions there. The demake walks us back through leaving either Ashley or Kaiden behind, picking to abandon the former and save the latter. As grim as it all is, still a bit comical to see Ashley’s icon grayed out at the Advance Wars-inspired unit selection screen. 

Said unit screen is pretty neat, too. I’m quite fond of the dream scenario where I’m dragging six Mass Effect party members into battle instead of the usual three-person squad. There’s even the showdown with ME1’s big baddie, Saren, and somehow that gnarly face is still pretty spooky in sprite form. So if you’re just a fan of one or the other, 64 Bits’ tribute to Mass Effect is still worth a watch:

Of course, their take on Mass Effect isn’t a real, playable thing, but it’s the type of tribute that leaves me miserably distraught with delight. The tiny Tali and Wrex sprites are too good, and, no matter how much I love it, playing the first Mass Effect can still feel like a slog. Perhaps Advance Effect is the better path for both series.

The demakes, mods, and alternative takes on beloved classics fueled by nostalgia continue to be a whole thing. Recently, games like Final Fantasy VII Remake saw some scenes reimagined by fans hoping for alternative, PS1-inspired camera angles. And while it’s not a big, reimagined demake, some old styles should’ve always stayed, and fans will see to it they remain - lookin’ at you, Square Enix, that Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster font has to go.