Commander Keen Is Back! Kind Of...

Antique iD Software game revived at E3 2019.

Before they let us shoot Hitler, demons, and ultimately, demon Hitlers, iD Software aimed to please PC owners with a clone of the brilliant but console-bound Super Mario Bros. 3, in the form of space-faring platform romp Commander Keen.

Billy Blaze, the 8-year-old boy who dons his brother's football helmet to become the eponymous hero, has been gathering dust in the studio's archives for the past 18 years, his last outing a Game Boy Color homage to the early-'90s quartet of MS-DOS classics.

Now, against any reasonable expectation, he's back! Well, kind of. Announced during Bethesda's E3 conference, 2019's Commander Keen is a free-to-play mobile game for iPhone and Android, which sees players assume the role of Billy or twin-sister Billie, as they attempt to 'save the world' with a 'zany collection of gadgets and a whole load of attitude'.

That might sound like a press release from 1991, but the gameplay looks anything but, instead a mixture of traditional 2D platforming and Hearthstone-style deckbuilding. Oh, and because it's free, there'll probably be those dreaded microtransactions.

The trailer ended by inviting players to go 'helmet to helmet', causing a snigger amongst British attendees of the show.

Commander Keen is set for a soft launch this summer.

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.