Today saw the release of Squre-Enix’s new game Scarygirl. This game is out now on XBLA for 1200 Microsoft points and will be released for the PSN next week. This game comes with its own sort of cult following already. The game is based on a comic of the same name, and is about a little orphaned girl who is adopted by an octopus. She also happens to lives in a tree house, dresses like a pirate, has a hook on one hand, and has a boney stump for her other hand. Needless to say, this is a bit of an odd title to be associated with a company like Square-Enix. Sure, they have had their fair share of oddities in the past, but something about this one is a little different. It’s actually good!
First off, the art direction is spot on with the comic style of the original story. It looks just as good as many of the more creative games that have been released as of late. The animations are fluid and don’t appear to have any clipping issues. It isn’t even your typical 2D platformer, in the fact that most levels have branching paths that let you move into the background or foreground almost seemlessly.
That brings up the topic of controls. The fighting system is mainly a button masher with the ability to chain more complex moves together for the more experianced player. Though hitting the X and Y buttons can win most fights the games emphasis is really on grappling enemies to perform a number of different moves. You start out with the ability to pick up a stuned enemy and throw them in any direction, but you can also use that same enemy as a club to bash other enemies with. As you play through the levels and collect crystals, you will come across merchants that will sell you new grapple moves that continue to increase your options when fighting. The player also has a bubble shield that can make you invincible for a short while, and though you can’t attack while using it, some enemies throw projectiles that if timed right can bounce off the shield and do heavy damage to themselves. Scarygirl can also spin her hooked arm like a helicopter and fly short distances. This hovering/flying ability is used in place of a double jump making the actual platforming aspect of the game sometimes difficult. There are spining platforms within some levels and to actually land on them when you are trying to jump is a problem, because more often then not you will over shoot your target or land on spikes. It is a bit of a learning curve to remember that pressing the jump button twice doesn’t increase your height, just your momentum. This new helicopter jump isn’t without its perks though. In most levels you will find a series of hooked trees that Scarygirl can swing from like a monkey. It takes a little practice, but once you get comfortable with the controls you can actually swing through the trees with a graceful ease that almost makes you forget about those spinning platforms that drained half your life.
That’s enough of that, on to the achievements/trophies. For people that play these types of games for there easy awards, you won’t be disappointed. Most all of the achievements are either story related and can’t be missed or you will simply get them over time. The only award that might be challenging for some is the one that requires you to complete every level with a perfection. This is harder than it sounds because you have to collect every item in the level, kill all the blackweed, and even do it all without dying even once. Not impossible, just time consuming. All in all, this is a strong title for fans of the comic or sidescrolling platformers. Though the price may seem steep at fifteen dollars, it is a To Buy game that you might be sorry if you missed.