Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore more or less nails what it sets out to do. Inspired directly by a pair of infamously bad Zelda games for the Philips CD-i, this fresh interpretation carries much of the same pseudo-bootleg energy that fans have come to love over time. The poorly animated cutscenes, awful voice acting, static environments, repetitive gameplay — all of it is expertly captured here, and that's both a blessing and a curse.

If you laugh at those notoriously bad cutscenes, the good news is Arzette's adventure is full of them, introducing unusual characters regularly as you traverse the game's various stages. They really do carry a chaotic charm, and are often genuinely funny — though sometimes you can feel the developer's urge to make the game so bad it's good on purpose, which doesn't always sit right. However, the overall look and feel is spot on.

By capturing the essence of something often ranked among the worst games ever made, though, you're bringing both good and bad back to life. Combat is dull, repetitive, and unchallenging; backtracking through levels becomes wearisome; and selecting an item to use via the pause menu is cumbersome. Some design decisions are made to replicate 30-year-old games — bad ones — and, while accurate, could've been modernised a smidge for a smoother experience.

Still, the problems aren't so egregious we'd discourage you from playing. The promise of the next wild cutscene, or side quest leading to a valuable upgrade or ability, is enough to keep you going, and while returning to previous stages can be tiresome, uncovering new paths and finding collectibles or quest items is rewarding.

Arzette is a tough game to criticise, because in many respects it has accomplished its mission. The commitment to the bit is admirable, and anyone who gets a kick out of those old CD-i titles will have a good time with this. However, if you're not in on the joke, this is harder to recommend; old fashioned design and uninteresting combat might be part of the brief, but they don't make for an exciting time in 2024. If you're willing to accept this game's warts-and-all approach, though, there's lots to like.