You know from just the title alone that this is not going to be your normal, run-of-the-mill game. Indeed as soon as the title screen fades and it goes into the animated introduction, you know that you are about to embark on an adventure that can at best be described as unique and as off the wall as they come.
You are the Prince of Hell (well not YOU but then I guess you have figured that one out for yourself) and there nothing that you enjoy more than relaxing in the bath with your good friend, Ducky. In fact some might think you are a little too attached to Ducky then is reasonably healthy for you. But hey, aren't you the Prince of Hell and what you and Ducky get up too is nobody else's business but yours right?
But alas, those nosy paparazzi think otherwise. There you are, submerged in soapy water, not a care in the underworld. It's just you and Ducky or so you think. Suddenly you hear a noise and it becomes obvious that someone has been spying on you and has now got a set of photographs that you naturally want back. You ask, nay you demand that they return the photographs, but do they listen? Well if they did, the game would be the shortest in video game history! So armed with a bazooka, and ringed set of blades that you wear like a bathing ring, and a mean temper you set off on a quest to protect your dignity (such as it is) and reclaim those photographs!
What follows is a good old fashioned sideways scrolling platform shooter. Like games that have come before it such as Mario and a certain blue Hedgehog, our intrepid ‘ahem' hero, sets off on a set of adventures that will seem him jumping on floating platforms whilst dodging buzz saws, dispatching enemies that are foolish enough to try and stop him with all the malice that he can muster and drilling through crystals to get too gems that will serve as currency. This is so our hero can buy upgrades to his weapons, new weapons and skins so he can change the way he looks. Certain skins do provide bonuses though, such as enabling him to run a bit faster, jump even higher etc. etc. but these get unlocked as the game progresses. Weapons can be upgraded too and it isn't long before you swap out the bazooka for a machine gun.
Sounds simple enough and it looks so too, but don't be fooled. Just when you think that despite the storyline and the character, that this is nothing but a traditional platformer, then something happens that makes you do a 360 degree turn on your opinion. Mid-level bosses appear that require some thought as to how to deal with them. Some creatures for instance, are armoured, but thankfully the machine gun is armour piercing (now I would have thought that a well-aimed Bazooka shell would solve that problem, see what I mean?).
Use your weapons to wear the critters down and then prepare to play a button press sequenced mini game to deliver the killer blow, and then sit back and watch the more than surreal finishing moves that send them back to err hell. Bosses are tougher, but require the same principal. And don't be fooled into thinking that the projectile weapons are the only way to get rid of enemies. Some you will have to kill using the environment, such as toxic waste vats, blocks that are pushed over ledges to squash critters flatter than a pancake etc.
Once dealt with the screen is ‘splattered' with their remains in a most satisfactory manner! You can also use those blades I mentioned to do a sonic style spin attack as well. Other methods will become available to you as the game progresses.
OK now to get down to the meat and bones of the review and take a look at individual elements as well as the normal pros and cons.Controls:
Simple really, you move the rabbit with the left stick or d-pad. Jump with the A button, right button shoots the gun or bazooka, but aiming is done with the right stick. At first this seems a little clunky but you'll soon get to grips with it. You can use the Y button to zoom out of the screen and see where you have to go next, or the back button brings up a full map. From here you can see how many enemies you have nailed, how far into the level you are, and can see what enhancements you have bought from the shop. Graphics:
Bright, colourful and cartoony for sure but capture the mood very well indeed. Textures are something that do not really come into effect here, but flame effects are well done as are the meatier explosions. Music:
This again matches the action on screen very well, but it hardly counts as a memorable score, but it is more than suitable for the game and its theme/setting. In fact it's like an old movie score, getting slightly heavier as enemies approach. I am glad to say that it does not have a cartoony soundtrack as odd as that may sound to some.Physics:
Jumping and sliding are well handled. There are no particle graphic effects for fire and smoke and of course, no rag doll physics either. Neither is needed or necessary for this title.Voice:
Voice acting is done by off screen narration, no fully animated faces here. Acting is what you would expect from a game like this. It doesn't require or need long winded speeches, which would only detract from the mayhem that is to come!Gameplay:
I have explained the controls so won't go into details yet again, but I will say that once you have killed 10 enemies (oh on that map screen is an encyclopaedia that gives you information about the types of creatures you have met and the bosses) something called the island is unlocked. I was not anticipating this at all.
The Island is a side game if you like, with areas that can be unlocked as you progress through the normal game. Once you have beaten your enemies into submission, they are sent to the island where you can set them to work. They were your subjects once, so why not make use of them again? You can get them mining for gems, manning the islands docks or any number of tasks that I will leave you guys and girls to discover for yourselves.
You will get a chance to go to the island between levels and collect what your minions have produced for you. Be aware that they can get unhappy and dissatisfied so you may find you will have to give them some time off from time to time. This adds a new twist to the game and a welcome break from the carnage.
OK now we get down to the real heart of the matter, the Pros and the Cons and that all important final rating.Pros:
Fast and furious fun. OK so you may die a few times but there is something that drew me back to have another go, even if it was just for that satisfaction feeling of being able to say "Yes, got you!". A humorous and fun affair all in all but not without some issues as you will see in the cons section. It made me smile at times, scowl at others and often had me thinking what the ***! However the replay value is there. Once you have finished the game, you can then teleport to previous levels and play through again to reach those hidden areas that were on the map but were tantalisingly out of reach. These areas will hold more gems, more enemies as well as peril. There is also a hidden game mode to strive to unlock and the promise of DLC.Cons:
Mini games to dispatch bosses get progressively trickier to the point where frustration can set in and it seems that you are getting nowhere fast. One fight sees you having to enter a very rapid five button press combination. This almost caused me to launch the controller across the room in annoyance. There are others too that will test you unless you are extremely patient. No multiplayer or co-op.
To sum up we have a game that is fast, furious and fun but does occasionally frustrate. Although a platformer, it is not for little kids, the humour is aimed at a fairly mature audience. It delivers a fun and challenging game. It's not perfect but if you like games in a similar vein to the Baconing then this could well appeal. If there's a demo of this out there, give it a try.