|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Twisted Pixel||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Twisted Pixel||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
April 14, 2010 - Twisted Pixel has made a name for itself over the last few years as one of the premier developers on the Xbox LIVE Arcade. Its first effort, The Maw, was something of a cult hit that never quite captured critics' favor due to some basic flaws. However, their second game, Splosion Man, was a big hit for the company, and for our part we really loved it too.
Though it's still very early in the company's development history (they've only released two games after all), it's tempting to see an upward trend in their products. Both games had a their signature sense of style, but it was only after a bit of practice and experience on the platform that they were able to craft a technically fine-tuned product.
It's that combination we're hoping Twisted Pixel has perfected. Their newest product has obvious potential simply by virtue of its awesome premise, but as with many lower-budgeted XBLA games, we're hoping that the details come together to form a satisfying product.
The game's concept revolves around a has-been comic book hero whose series, The Adventures of Captain Smiley, has become increasingly cheesy over the years. Eventually he is canceled and he has to work hard to get himself into other comic books so that he can prove himself and eventually get his own comic back.
This theme is reflected in the gameplay when he finds himself in entirely different comic book worlds. This not only affects gameplay but the aesthetic as well. When he's in a very serious, dark comic, the art style will reflect that. It's not just a color-palette swap either. The entire world will be rendered in a style that fits what you'd expect to see in a different series of comics.
The gameplay itself seems actually reminiscent of something along the lines of Gunstar Heroes. In fact, that's precisely the game that came up several times during Twisted Pixel's presentation of the game. It's mostly a 2D side-scrolling adventure in which Captain Smiley charges across the screen blasting foes into oblivion with his unlimited ammo pistols. In the level we were shown, Smiley charged across a series of skyscrapers destroying countless enemy fembots. And when things get rough, he's not afraid to change up the tactics.
In one particular instance, Smiley grabbed a fembot out of midair and used her as a skateboard to slide down the side of a diagonal building. This kind of attitude is all over the game. It's a tense adventure, but never once do they even consider taking this seriously.
The game's antagonist, shown in the demo, is one of our absolute favorite parts of the game. He's a rival superhero named simply "Brad." He oozes with frat-boy machismo, and he constantly has babes hanging off his arms. He had us laughing out loud more than once with one of his bro-sayings like "Let's do this -- Man to Brad" or "Hasta mañana douche-wad!"
Right now the game is still in pre-alpha, so needless to say it was a bit rough around the edges, but Twisted Pixel still says that the game will release later this year. As of right now we're very impressed by what we've seen, but as was previously said, the question now is all about technical execution.
CCC Freelance Writer