Friday, December 31, 2010

Bonus: Video game three hundred and sixty seven: Raskulls

Video game review number three hundred and sixty seven in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Raskulls".

I played Raskulls for the first time at PAX earlier this year. It was a fun, four player experience...and although only the "grand prix" mode was available to demo on the show floor, I knew I'd want to try this when it was released later on as a full Xbox Live Arcade game.

Fast forward to this week. I have managed to finish playing all 365 games I needed to play for the challenge, and I'm currently enjoying playing games just for fun (mostly Need For Speed). Lo and behold...this arcade title is released. Do I have time to play one more game and type up a review for the project? Yes I do. Besides, it'll make up for MAG, the only other game besides Sonic that supported achievements or trophies that I wasn't able to earn a trophy in. By playing this 367th game, I have now completed this challenge not just numerically, but technically as well. I played 365 unique games according to the rules I set out to follow, and a couple of extras on top of that. That's pretty awesome, and I'll be doing a follow-up sometime in the coming week or two.

Anyway, let's talk about Raskulls.

Raskulls is a fun little action/puzzle game that seems optimized to play with four players. I think it's something I'd actually enjoy playing locally with friends (perhaps next time people come over to play Rock Band), but so far...the only multiplayer I've managed to do has been online. It was fun, but I think there will be something even better about playing it with friends (as it's very fast paced and competitive).

Your character is a short, stubby little guy (or girl) with a skull for a head, and you compete against other stubby little characters to try and make it through a maze first. Most of the levels are just races (and are a lot of fun), but others are timed challenges, or puzzles that only have a certain number of solutions....and those can be frustratingly challenging.

There is a quest mode, and in that're supposed to collect "Shiny Jewels". At one point, a character asks: "Why do we need these?" and another one replies with: "Don't question the plot!" or something. The game is full of little one-liners like this.

In one chapter, you are required to play as a ninja, and your character is so stealthy that he steals the pants off of a couple of the other characters without them noticing. One of the characters asks the other one "How come you have that pixelation on you?" and he replies "That always happens when I don't wear pants". Made me laugh.

There are only 3 chapters to the game (as far as I know) but each chapter is very long. There are more than 10 levels per chapter, and some are incredibly difficult. In the last couple of days, I've gone through more than 24 unique levels so far, and I'd say I've only actually completed half of the game. There have been challenges I simply couldn't pass (mostly the timed ones) and I imagine I might go back to them at some point.

Overall Score? 7.5/10. I think this game is pretty darn decent. The humor is there, the gameplay is fun, and the challenges aren't repetitive at all. The single player experience seems like it won't last much longer, and like Bomberman, it seems more focused around multiplayer than single player. To me, that's always a problem, because there are so many games online to choose from...and without a LARGE user base, multiplayer games can tend to become really empty experiences. I tried to find four people online to play with, and the most I ever found was two. That's rather disappointing in launch week, and it'll probably only get worse as time passes.

Achievements? Over the last two days, I managed to unlock these, all offline:

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