Scarygirl Review

Our Rating
out of 5.0

This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.

Enter a world unlike any other.  A world of spooky creatures, eerie sounds, and backdrops that look like something out of a children’s book that Tim Burton would have cherished.  Enter the world of Scarygirl.  Here you’ll find a girl abandoned when she was young and found by an intelligent octopus named Blister.  Blister decides to take care of the girl and fondly names her Scarygirl.  Trolling the depths of the sea floor, Blister finds the things he needs to build her a house up in a tree,and pirate clothes for her to wear (including an eye patch!).

Scarygirl keeps having strange dreams of a mysterious bearded man, and is awoken one night by a loud commotion in the hollow of the tree that she resides in.  Upon entering, she finds a large, mystical white rabbit named Buniguru.  She tells the mystic about her dreams, and he says that the answers she seek are outside of the peninsula she lives in – in the city beyond.  And so begins her quest to find out what this dream means.

Scarygirl, created by San Mateo-based TikGames, is based on the graphic novel written and illustrated by Toronto native Nathan Jurevicius.  It is a 3D-ish platformer/hack ‘n’ slash game that takes place in a world of beautiful colors and bizarre environments.  As you progress through the levels, a tale of mystery, intrigue, and adventure unfolds before you in storybook fashion.  Comic panel-like cut scenes bring you a deep and intense story as you learn about who Scarygirl is and where her quest leads her.  Excellent narration provides more depth not only during these cut scenes, but also in the respite between levels.  But it’s not just the wonderful presentation of the story that makes this game so magical.

The entire world, its characters, enemies, backdrops, and environments, are beautifully crafted based on the artwork of Nathan Jurevicius.  His art combines a wide array of bright colors and melds them with Burton-esque art into a dark, yet vibrant, collage of wonder.  While the world plays like a 2D platformer, certain elements and portions of it are presented on a three-dimensional level.  Forks in the road give you the choice of which path to follow (oftentimes however you can go back to clear the path not taken).  The road you follow will sometimes wind around mountains and other obstacles to give it a 3D feel which can  add a level of challenge in gameplay as your perspective changes.

Enemies in the game are crafted in the same delightful art form, looking simply adorable, yet malformed from their real-world counterparts.  Their attacks are simultaneously amusing and deadly as mountain goats charge you on their tippy-toes, puffy blue owls swoop down from above, and overgrown weeds lash out at you.  Scarygirl’s animations are additionally entertaining as she uses her whip to slash, lasso, and hurl enemies at each other.

Gameplay is tailored for casual gamers and hardcore gamers alike, allowing you to negotiate levels by simply mashing the attack buttons or by using more complex combinations to execute special attacks and combos against these adorable enemies.  For the less advanced gamer, you’ll be able to make your way down the path laid out before you without any complications.  Those who seek further challenges, however, will be happily surprised to encounter hidden areas throughout various levels that require complex skills and include greater rewards such as additional heart containers, larger jewels, and more.  These heart containers, for example, are collected to extend Scarygirl’s life bar, while the jewels can be used to unlock special attacks or restore your health from a wandering merchant you encounter throughout the game.  You can even purchase little vinyl figures of the enemies you encounter to adorn the shelf above Scarygirl’s bed!

While the control scheme meets the needs of many different kinds of players, there are a few hang-ups that you’ll run into occasionally.  Changing paths will sometimes require a little back and forth before the game realizes that you’re trying to go in a different direction.  However, this seldom affects the game overall and never detrimentally.

This sensational bundle of gameplay and artwork is wrapped up in a warm, soft blanket of extraordinary sound effects and an eerie, yet enjoyable soundtrack reminiscent of Diablo II and Beetlejuice.  The quirky tunes add to the overall upbeat and yet somewhat melancholic tone of Scarygirl, making for a soundtrack that you can enjoy listening to on its own as well as in the game.  This would be a soundtrack that I would love to see hit Amazon in the future.

Scarygirl is most definitely a game that you should have in your collection if you love platformers.  The wonderful art and music, masterfully woven story, and great gameplay make TikGames’ latest creation a treat.  The rare control glitches mar the finish of this gem only slightly, but at 1200 points, it leaves little to complain about.

This game receives a 4.75/5.

Our Rating
out of 5.0

About This Post

January 26, 2012 - 8:34 am