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Scarygirl Review (XBLA)

Game Review: Scarygirl (XBLA)
Release: January 18, 2012
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Tik Games
Available Platforms: XBLA, PSN, and eventually PC
Players: 1 Campaign/2 Locally
MSRP: 800 MSP, $10
ESRB Rating: E For Everyone
Website: Scarygirl

The origins of Scarygirl began with a line of stories and illustrations by Nathan Jurevicius and it is on its way to a wider audience with help from Square Enix with Tik Games’ new downloadable game. Scarygirl is a platformer that brings Jurevicius’ lush cartoon world to life with graphics that are vivid and work as a fantastic backdrop to the game. Couple that with the large cast of characters that Jurevicius created with and you have a fully realized world that is a joy to explore.

Scarygirl plays is a lot like other action platformers out there but its art-style is what that sets Scarygirl apart from the competition. The game is split up into 7 worlds with about 3 separate levels for each one that houses a variety of environments and enemies to overcome. Between the levels you’re treated to barebones story beats that are sometimes animated using Nathan’s artwork. Each of the enemies has its own movement pattern that mixes up the gameplay as well as unique attacks that are tricky to avoid and counter. Along with regular enemies, Scarygirl also has screen filling bosses that are challenging and frustrating all at once.

To fight off the menagerie of baddies, Scarygirl is equipped with her octopus arm that acts like a whip as well as a way to extend jumps through gliding as you twirl it like a propeller. You’re also given a rage based frenzy attack that the player can activate once their meter is filled. You’ll also able to upgrade your attacks by utilizing the stores which are strewn throughout the worlds. Along with upgrading your attacks you’ll also be able to unlock new combos that use that combine light and heavy attacks to create brand new attack patterns to utilize against the bad guys.

One major plus for Scarygirl is just how fun it is to explore the world that Nathan Jurevicius and Tik Games worked together to create.  Add to that, the ability to share in co-op sessions with friends through local drop in/drop out multiplayer, and you have a fun little experience for only $10. Playing through the game also offers a challenging adventure that can reward players that have the patience with an experience that constantly strives to keep players on their toes through its ever-changing gameplay.

That difficulty is one of Scarygirl’s greatest strengths but it can also be one of its biggest weaknesses as the difficulty curve can ramp up suddenly and be quite unforgiving. I’m fine with taking up a challenge but Scarygirl’s controls can sometimes be unresponsive and be the major source of the game’s difficulty. I found myself repeatedly dying due to situations that were created by that unresponsiveness and it took every fiber of my gaming being to get me back on that controller and try again. Add to that, the poor checkpoint system, and you have a game that will consistently have you back tracking through areas you’ve already gone through in an effort to avoid a cheap attack that occurred seconds prior.

I can honestly say that I started off really liking Scarygirl, but that like quickly led to a frustrating love/hate relationship that was difficult to maintain. Without a doubt, Scarygirl is oozing with cuteness, ingenuity, and gorgeous art but its difficulty and unresponsive controls are a blemish on what is a beautiful foundation. Scarygirl definitely provides an experience that can be enjoyable if you give it a chance but make sure you’re prepared for a challenge before taking a dive into this game’s waters.

+Adorable art style
+Huge variety of enemies and environments
-Unresponsive controls
-Awkward difficulty curve

Final Score: 6 out of 10

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  • I could tell just from the first few minutes of the demo that this game was going to be really annoying. Shame too because like you said, it has a nice art style to it. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea.