Well then, it’s time to hit on one of the largest breakout cultural hits. And by that, I mean Scott Pilgrim. Now, I’m not going to discuss the comic, the movie, and how most gamers view this series, as that will be covered by my colleague Zed. However, I am going to give a review of the game that was recently released on PSN, and will soon be released on XBLA.
Now, as for a basic summary of the game, wow. That is literally what I said when I first started playing it. Wow. It’s amazing. The pixel art by Paul Robertson is beyond fantastic, the soundtrack by chiptune artists Amanaguchi is equally stunning. And, most importantly, it’s a very basic, classic, brass tacks beam ‘em up. It plays like a spiritual sequel to River City Ransom, with the use of items as weapons, such as trash cans and empty bottles, to the store system where you eat food to refill health and guts, and increase the stats of your characters.
As you level up, you earn new moves, some are pretty basic like an attack that can hit enemies when they’re down, to a counter move that does massive damage to any enemy, including bosses. Now, several people have said that it was moderate for difficulty, but I will admit that even when playing on the easiest setting, I was soundly getting my ass kicked. You have three lives to start with, though once you lose them all you simply get put back on the map screen. There isn’t any permanent penalty, except losing your progress on that current world.
There are seven worlds in total, with shops in each one for a quick pick-me-up. You can call in Knives Chau, Scott’s ex-girlfriend, as a support character with the L1 button. What she does depends on the character you’re playing as. You can also find her father, Mr. Chau, roaming the world map in a very Hammer Bros from Mario 3 style. Once you defeat him, which is no easy feat, you have a chance to summon him or his wife instead of Knives for a support attack. It’s a nice little addition, I thought. Something extra that was unlockable. Which of course, harkens back to the old days of gaming that most of us know and love.
Speaking of which, the references are heavy. But, not in a sort of in-your-face way. They usually, from me anyhow, elicit a smile and maybe a chuckle. Medusa Head enemies that can knock you off of platforms, the Mario 3 style world map, various sound effects, the way each character exits a world after a boss fight, graffiti on the backgrounds showing mushrooms, even some of the items you can purchase in the stores. Most gamers who started on the NES will notice most of them, as that really seems to be the era that they are pulling them from.
The combat in the game honestly felt a bit slow at first, but after completing the first stage, I had no trouble with it at all. Also, if you feel your character moves slow, buy SPD boosting food. That being said, enemies are sometimes unfair. You can be juggled quite easily, and there is one enemy type that loves nothing more than picking up items and throwing them at you as you try to attack others. So, be prepared for that. Fortunately, you do have a block button, and there are only a handful of attacks in the entire game that you cannot stop. So, it plays like any classic beat ‘em up. If you have experience with Streets of Rage, Final Fight, or any number of Capcom or Data East arcade brawlers, you’ll do fine.
Now, onto replayability. Unfortunately, at this time, the game does not have online play at all. It is only local co-op. They may decide to implement a patch that adds online play, but so far there hasn’t been any mention of it. That being said, there are four characters to play as initially, with two more hidden. At the time of this writing, we don’t know how to unlock the sixth character, or who they even are. Each character has their own unique attacks, and though they have the same descriptions, they look different depending on the character. Each character also gets their own endings, a twist on the comics. It should be noted that the game, the comics, and the movie are all separate. So, while the endings for the game are not in line with the canon comic, they are still enjoyable and fun, and worth obtaining.
So, for those that are looking for a short blurb, here you go. Did you grow up in the 90′s? Did you enjoy beat ‘em ups like Final Fight and Streets of Rage? Are you okay playing such a game solo, or with a couple of friends over at your house? If you answered yes to any or all of these, buy Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game. At the very frugal friendly price of $9.99, I personally found it worth every single last cent. As far as the hype surrounding the game, it was not unwarranted. It is easily one of the best games I own. And I own a lot of games.