|System: Xbox 360, PS3*|
|Release: April 11, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes|
by Sean Engemann
Soda and candy mascots have periodically made their way out of the plastic wrapper and into the video game market. As mentioned in last week's Pick & Play by fellow Cheat Code Central writer Shelby Reiches, 7-Up's mascot Spot is the first that comes to mind. He starred in a fairly successful platformer in his day, but a lot of that was because Spot became a pop phenomenon (no pun intended), after being showcased in 7-Up commercials for a lengthy period, and was tailored to the same audience that was already hooked on video games. It was a smart strategy by PepsiCo, and the game even won some awards in the sound and music department.
World Gone Sour, however, enters a completely different gaming environment than that of the early 90s. It is a side-scrolling platformer based on the journey of a those beloved cinema treats, the Sour Patch Kids, but the overall product was clearly not given enough time to reach that perfect sugar high. Yet despite the remedial design and control issues, it's still only five dollars to download, and has a quirkiness to it that may just win you over.
In World Gone Sour, the purpose in life for a Sour Patch Kid is to make it into the belly of a human—their Nirvana, if you will. But you, a poor little green gummy, were unfortunately purchased by a clumsy kid at the theatre, who tripped over his untied shoes and launched you into the garbage can, doomed to never be eaten. But unlike other Sour Patch Kids who turn psychotic after being tossed aside, you refuse to let your destiny go unfulfilled, and thus begin a journey out of the garbage can and into the world.
The world however, is not that big, and basically consists of the movie theatre and a few areas in and around a house. Being such a tiny little candy, the backdrops are larger than life, with platforms and puzzles that use all manner of fictionally contrived household items and candies. The design is clearly surrealistic in nature, and some aspects of it are very cleverly put together. If you've played LittleBigPlanet, then you will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the environments here. However, World Gone Sour leans a little more toward realism, and a lot more toward shoddy. It's nothing grandiose in quality, but that doesn't stop the wacky designers at Playbrains from toying with absurd candy brand names. Pus Poppers, What The Fudge, Dairy Bombs, Holey Molars, Fat Mama Sugar Cones, Diet Dilly Squeeze, and Mr. Poopers are just some of the crazy names given to avoid using other trademarked brands.
Of course, the world is not without its share of enemies, which are comprised of things like gooey gum and broken, chomping light bulbs. Bosses are engineered monstrosities of these simple items, and are usually helmed by one of those tossed Sour Patch Kids gone insane. You begin tackling these obstacles as a small Kid, quick and nimble, but only able to withstand a single hit. Throughout each level you'll rescue more Sour Patch Kids, who'll gladly follow your lead like Pikmin. These troops can be tossed to hit triggers or to dispatch enemies, with the standard jumping on top of heads being the other way of destroying baddies. After collecting enough followers, you can absorb them to make yourself bigger, giving you more physical endurance and the ability to ground pound through fragile barriers or charge up your attack, but at the cost of speed. Certain areas and the occasional secret nook require you to discharge your brethren to fit through the crevice, a clever ideas that tugs a little at the strategy strings.
Collecting stars and defeating enemies will increase your score, and Green Gummies will fill a meter that grants you an additional life when full. Gaining extra lives is essential, partly because you will make sacrifices for a more robust score and partly because the controls are horrendous. There is a lag with the button response, especially while jumping, that requires you to adjust your timing. You don't stop and turn on a dime, many of the platforms are unforgiving, and swinging across chasms usually results in landing on deadly spikes or into boiling cooking oil.