Scarygirl review for PSN, XBLA

Platform: XBLA
Also on: PSN
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Tik Games
Medium: Digital Download
Players: 1 – 2
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

With all the downloadable platformers on the market, it takes something with flash, uniqueness, and flare to really not only be worth playing, but to pay the price these days to play it.  On paper, Scarygirl looks to break the ?everyday? mold and capture an audience that not only loves platformers, but gothic art driven games as well.  Unfortunately once you get past the opening “oohs and ahhs”, you?ll find yourself wanting more, but alas the game fails to keep your interest for long and that?s where Scarygirl struggles to deliver.    Not that Scarygirl is a bad game or does anything notably wrong, but it?s hard to justify the 15 dollar price tag for a game that only feels new for a short time before the yawns start rolling in.

Fans of the novel, collectable toys, or even the flash game may want to knock this up a point or so as you already have interest and love for the content involved, but for the rest of us, especially coming off the amazing Rayman Origins, this hardly passes for anything less than a novelty platformer with its sights  on a certain demographic, nothing more.

Visually the game looks great with a nice 2.5D appearance, that while dark in nature, is full of color, animations, and visuals that themselves are the most unique part of what makes Scarygirl slightly above the curve.  Beginning with Scarygirl herself, she has a few surprises up her sleeve such as a grasping tentacle arm that allows her to slap, grab, and even float by moving in a helicopter style motion.  Toss these elements with baddies, jumps, and obstacles and you have yourself your basic cookie cutter formula with a few instances of brilliance hidden ever so slightly.

The game plays well enough, but is far from perfect as you can?t link moves together, which takes greatly away from the flow, and there are some delay issues that make combat a little frustrating, especially in later levels.  These issues aren?t so problematic in your typical jumping and scaling routines, but when some things need to be spot on accurate when the controls necessary are not is when you?ll be calling Scarygirl names loudly at the TV.  This becomes ever more apparent when you are fighting the boss battles which are broken down a la Mega Man, but let me clue you in?this isn?t Mega Man.  While Mega Man was hard, you only had your skills to blame, but in Scarygirl the control issues need to be dealt with before you can hone your own skills.

Scarygirl also has a 2 player co-op mode, which is unfortunately offline only, for a few more kicks.  Of course the challenge is part of the game?s charm as if you can, as Yoda would say, unlearn what you have already learned, then shooting for perfection, which is one of Scarygirl?s completion tasks, will add to the game?s short length. For me though, after venturing through this story, it was a onetime shot and due to some frustrating situations, repeating those instances over and over is not what I call fun.  I?m a gamer not a masochist.

In the end, if Scarygirl retailed for less or spent a little more time in the oven getting the elements a bit more tweaked, then I?d say the game would be worth the money.  As is, you may want to trial this bad boy (or girl) to see if this adventure is worth putting up the 15 bucks.  Otherwise, unless you are a big fan of the content, it?s decent enough to hold off until it is on sale or something in the future.  For this reviewer, Scarygirl is more average than scary.

Grade: C