Egret II Mini contains 40 games, including Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, Darius Gaiden and more
The Five Star Mega Drive Mini and the awesome classic snes may have more mainstream appeal, but if you love retro gaming and fondly remember feeding arcade machines with your hard-earned pocket money, then the Egret II Mini might be the go-to gaming device. of this year. The Egret II Mini is a fairly faithful recreation of Taito’s iconic arcade cabinets that were hugely popular in Japan. It comes with 40 built-in games, a rotating screen, stereo speakers, and an adjustable joystick, making it one of the most feature-rich devices in the ever-expanding miniature market.
Besides the games list (but more on that later), it’s the adjustable screen that really makes the Egret II Mini feel like something special.
An absolute boon if you’re a fan of vertically scrolling shoot-em-ups, the Egret II Mini has a satisfying rotating screen. Just click it, pull it out and turn the screen when you want to play vertical scrolling games the right way – such as Space Invaders, RayForce and Gun Frontier.
When you want to play the most commonly available side-scrolling games, just rotate the screen back to its original position and it will automatically adjust the aspect ratio.
The ability to play games with a proper aspect ratio is further enhanced by the fact that the LCD screen measures in at a solid 5 inches, meaning you’ll never squint to make out the action on screen. screen.
It’s a far cry from the original Sega Astro Mini, where some games were borderline unplayable due to the tiny 3.9-inch screen and unnecessary 16:9 display mode.
You can see a comparison of the two devices and their respective game-to-screen ratios below.
Not only is the Egret II bigger than the Astro City Mini, it makes better use of the screen
The difference between vertical scrolling games is even more pronounced
Another really nice touch is the ability to toggle the joystick between four and eight directions, while the lighted marquee and instruction panel with interchangeable cards add an extra layer of legitimacy.
Factor in the solid build quality and sizable form factor that’s actually comfortable to play right out of the box, and the Egret II Mini strikes the perfect balance between functionality and authenticity.
The games list is another big tick in the win column for the Taito Egret II Mini, both in terms of variety and overall quality.
The base unit comes with 40 games, which is far more than Capcom Home Arcade’s paltry 16 games, and the 22 titles that came with the Astro City Mini V. It even tops the original Astro City Mini, which comes with 37 games.
The Egret II Mini doesn’t carry as many household names as some of its rivals – Space Invaders is the oldest and most historically significant of the bunch – but there are very few games that don’t have at least some redeeming qualities. .
Rotating screen means you can play vertical games like Space Invaders without squinting
• Adventure Canoe (1982)
• Bubble Bobble (1986)
• Bubble Memories (1995)
• Symphonic bubble (1994)
• Cadash (1989)
• Chack’n Pop (1983)
• Dan-Ku-Ga (unreleased update by Kaiser Knuckle, 1995)
• Darius Gaiden (1994)
• Don Doko Don (1989)
• Elevator Action (1983)
• Elevator Action Returns (1994)
• Story of Fairyland (1985)
• Growl (1990)
• Gun Frontier (1990)
• Halley’s Comet (1986)
• Hat Trick Hero (1990)
• Kaiser Knuckle (1994)
• Kiki Kai Kai (1986)
• The Legend of Kage (1985)
• Liquid Kids Adventure (1990)
• Lunar Rescue (1979)
• Lupine III (1980)
• Metallic Black (1991)
• History of New Zealand (1988)
• Ninja Kids (1990)
• Outdoor Zone (1984)
• Pirate Pete (1982)
• Bobble 2X Puzzle (1995)
• Qix (1981)
• Raimais (1988)
• Rainbow Islands EXTRA (1988)
• Rastan Saga (1987)
• Ray Force (1993)
• Training Scramble (1986)
• Space Invaders (1978)
• Steel Worker (1980)
• Tatsujin (1988)
• Twin Cobra (1987)
• Fight Against Violence (1989)
• Volfield (1989)
Personal favorites include Elevator Action Returns, Rastan Saga, Runark (Growl), Darius Gaiden, Dan-Ku-Ga (and Kaiser Knuckle), Metal Black, Rayforce, Tatsujin, Gun Frontier, Kyukyoku Tiger (Twin Cobra), and Puzzle Bobble.
I also got a big kick out of Pocky & Rocky’s predecessor, Kiki KaiKai, especially after spending hours playing Pocky & Rocky Reshrined on Nintendo Switch.
There are quite a few Bubble Bobble-style games on the device, which is great if you’re into that sort of thing, but I’ve never personally been able to get into it. Not bad games, but not my cup of tea (maybe I lack practice). I also remember enjoying Rainbow Islands much more in my youth than I do now.
Although slightly limited in the gameplay department, Hat Trick Hero’s chunky visuals and overall layout represent everything I love about arcade games, while Pirate Pete’s, Lunar Rescue, and Space Invaders’ primitive graphics don’t. shouldn’t put you off playing these addictive classics.
Fans willing to splash the extra cash can purchase a host of extras for the Egret II Mini, including a chunky arcade stick, traditional control pad, and the excellent Paddle and Trackball expansion set.
The Paddle and Trackball Expansion Set comes with a special controller that plugs into the back of the system, along with an SD card containing ten additional games that support paddle or trackball control input.
Although the sensitivity of the racquet and trackball takes some getting used to – especially the racquet which feels extremely loose at first – it’s worth persevering with, as the set contains some real addictive treasures.
Games like Cameltry – where you use the paddle to rotate the stage to guide a ball to the exit – are simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, but challenging enough to keep people hooked for hours.
The paddle-controlled Arkanoid games (and Puchi Carat) are the stars of the show, with more convoluted block-breaking action that will be familiar to Atari’s Breakout fans.
On the Trackball side, Strike Bowling and Birdie King are the standout titles, while Syvalion, a maze-based shooter, offers a unique and meatier experience for fans of arcade curiosities.
The biggest issue with the expansion is that there isn’t as much variety in the game lineup, especially considering the price. Five of the games are either part of the Arkanoid series (Arkanoid, Arkanoid Revenge of Doh and Arkanoid Returns) or feature similar gameplay (Puchi Carat and Plump Pop).
At the time of writing, the Paddle and Trackball extension costs over £100, plus the cost of the Egret II Mini itself. You can buy bundles that contain everything, but again, it will cost you.
If you have the budget and are willing to pay a little extra, you can at least rest assured that the Paddle and Trackball expansion won’t disappoint. What it lacks in quantity, it certainly makes up for in quality.
VERDICT – 4/5
The Egret II Mini Paddle and Trackball Expansion Set
Arkanoid and Strike Bowling are notable titles in the Paddle and Trackball expansion
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the Egret II Mini’s weedy speakers that let it down – particularly at higher volumes – although you can at least plug in headphones.
Another issue is that the Egret II Mini doesn’t come with an actual power supply, just a cable. Although this is usually not a problem, the Egret II Mini needs a lot of juice to keep everything running smoothly. Use a standard outlet and the device doesn’t get enough power, leading to all sorts of performance issues.
The price could also be a sticking point for some, especially if you buy the wardrobe and extras – which will set you back over £400. It’s not that the Egret II Mini isn’t worth it, it’s just a steep price to pay compared to some of its rivals.
Still, with a solid gaming lineup, excellent build quality, and some nice features like the rotating screen, there’s not too much to complain about when it comes to the Egret II Mini.
If you’re looking for a pint-sized machine that holds more gems than a safe at Tiffany’s, the Egret II Mini might just be the best miniature gaming device yet.
You can purchase the Egret II Mini Limited Blue Edition and separate add-ons from Gamesrocket, or the Game Center Blue Edition and Arcade Cabinet Blue Edition from Strictly Limited Games.