[Beyond PlayStation] Commander Keen in Keen Dreams Review

Commander Keen in Keen Dreams Review

Commander Keen in Keen Dreams is an old-school classic that is ready for you on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Commander Keen in Keen Dreams review!


Commander Keen in Keen Dreams was originally released by id Software way back in 1991. It was designed by Tom Hall, with programming by John Carmack, John Romero and Jason Blochowiak, and art by Adrian Carmack. It was later remastered in 1993 by Softdisk Inc., and now this 2D platformer has now found a new home on the Nintendo Switch. You play as eight-year-old kid genius Billy Blaze who is so good he has managed to build an interstellar starship from nothing more than rubber cement, old cans of soup, and plastic tubing. Once his parents are out of town, and his babysitter falls asleep, he puts on his brother’s football helmet, boards his ship and transforms into Commander Keen, defender of planet Earth!


For this 2D platformer, you can move your character around with the left analog stick or the D-Pad. Jumping is set to the A and B buttons, and you can attack with Flower Power or Boobus Bombs with the X or Y buttons. You will run into poles you can climb up or slide down from by pressing up or down on the left analog stick or the D-Pad. If you want to duck, you can simply press down on the left analog stick or the D-Pad, and if you want to jump through a platform, you can do so by ducking to then press the B button.

Once you’re ready to start your adventure, you’ll be able to select between Easy, Normal and Hard modes to play the game. Once you do this, you will start in the overworld where you can easily move towards your first stage to beat in the land of Tuberia. As you explore each stage you will need to collect flower power pellets so that you can attack enemies since they are of the limited variety, so you need to make every shot count. Keeping track of enemies and their movement and attack patterns is a must since one hit is all it will take for Commander Keen to be defeated. Some enemies will get in your way and push you towards bottomless pits, while others will try to take a stab at, well, stabbing you.


Once you complete the first stage, you will be able to take on the rest of the stages in any order you want, so if you run into a stage that is giving you trouble, just go and give another stage a try. You will collect candy and cookies to bump your overall score, and you will get an extra life by reaching specific score milestones. You might also get some keys, so be sure to make good use for them. Always pick up all flower pellets so that you have more than plenty to take care of the enemies that you will run into.

Before you can finish the game, you’re going to need to find some bombs, called Boobus Bombs, which you’re going to need to be able to defeat King Boobus, who is the final boss in the game. Since you can’t replay stages after completing them, you should always look for bombs in all stages in low and high places, because if you miss them, then you won’t be able to go into the last battle. You are going to need to find at least 12 Boobus Bombs so that you can defeat the final boss and save the land, so don’t forget them!

Commander Keen is a fun 2D platformer from over 20 years ago that I don’t think anyone was expecting to see on the Nintendo Switch. Depending on how good you are at old-school platformers, you can finish the game in a couple of hours or so, and there’s definitely a change to speedrun the game to finish it in way less time if you know where everything you have to collect is located, since you don’t need to finish all stages to defeat the final boss.

This Commander Keen in Keen Dreams review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Lone Wolf Technology.


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