It's been a great year for the Xbox Live Arcade. Limbo, Scott Pilgrim, and Comic Jumper represent some of the great titles we got this year. Now Halfbrick wishes to jump in, and make Raskulls part of the list. However can Raskulls fit in the shoes of it's peers?
The story of Raskulls is a odd one, and believe me I'm not kidding. The story mode starts with space rats flying on their ship when they end up crashing on an alien plannet. A few bad jokes later, the captain orders his two crewmen to get a new power source for their ship so they can leave. We then find that the planet is ruled by skull headed people (hence the pun). From this point on the story is just a collection of bad jokes, and just randomness. It's kind of sad really. I enjoy funny games, but people need to understand that not everyone is funny. I'm sure a lot of the writing seemed interesting on paper, but exicution of said jokes feel more like a punch in the face. It got to the point that whenever I would beat a segment I'd feel like a little kid playing baseball, and fearing the moment the ball comes flying. It got to the point that I just stopped paying attention to the story, and I focused more on the actual gameplay.
The game plays as a very interesting platformer. It almost feels like a combinations of Bomberman, Mario, and Bejewled. Platforming works just as well as you could imagine, but these days we have that aspect pretty well down. The interesting part of the game is that navigating certain parts requires you to destroy multicolored bricks. Destroying one colored batch of bricks will cause any other colored brix to fall, and if said blocks land on matching colors they become one. This mechanic is used in a few ways. The game will have you race to a finish line while racing against either NPCs or friends. This mode also offers time trials as well. However, for those who like a bit more chalenge you will like one other mode. This mode has you attempting to reach the bottom of a hole filled with many squares. The kick in this being that you must do it with so many shots. The game is nice enough to give you more shots if you can reach them, but doing so can be tricky at times. The style of the game is very mixed. It offers a very cute look, and is easily supported by the level of humor. The problem is the game is not really all that exceptional. While there are aspects of the game I like it is dragged down by its single player. Multiplayer does lift it from this as well, but it can not hold up after too long. In fact it could easily be improved by removing the story mode, and dropping it to 400 msp. However with so many good games on the market it's hard to give this one a good score. For those who want to get an game off the Xbox Live Arcade I can sugest quite a few better alternatives, and a independent game that is worth buying before this (Oh Noes!1). If you have the cash to burn, and you really want the game go for it. If not you'd be happier getting Super Meat Boy or Scott Pilgrim.
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