Scarygirl is based on Nathan Jureviciusí graphic novel of the same name, featuring a young girl with an unexplained tentacle arm setting off on an adventure to discover the meaning beyond her strange nightmares. This is the latest of the many 2D platformers to hit XBLA in the past few years, but is it also one of the best?
Letís find out.
The art style is an interesting Burton-esque attempt at sugar-coated horror. Fully rendered in 3D, but taking part on a 2D plane; Scarygirl is certainly a treat for the eyes. The main character herself is a zombie-like girl (with an eye for pirate-wear) who lives in a tree and was raised by a giant octopus. Sounds like a nursery rhyme, doesnít it?
While the visual look of the game may offer something new for gamers to see, the same compliment canít be extended to the gameplay. Scarygirl is certainly no slouch, just donít expect a revolution. This game features a mix of classic platforming gameplay and extended combat scenarios. The jumping and general movement is a little loose and imprecise, but it gets the job done. A lot of the gameplay focus extends to the combat, which is a competent button-masher that relies upon light/heavy attack combos, and air-juggling.
Keeping your enemy in the air and minimizing the damage you take is a large part of the challenge in Scarygirl. Itís not a hugely difficult game, but there are a few sections where youíll need to be on top of your game in order to succeed.
While Scarygirl usually has the tools necessary in order to beat what the game throws at you, there were a couple of occasions where a few of the design choices simply got in the way of my enjoyment. One such occasion was during a level taking place on a flying ship of some sort. It was a stage devoid of many checkpoints, yet it threw many of the same type of enemies at you. Enemies who took a long time to defeat, would operate independently from one another and would push you into a corner of what was already a very small area. It suffices to say, this stage took me quite a few attempts to beat.
The final boss is also something of a let down. I wonít spoil too much here, but it was a dull and laboured battle against a faceless machine that didnít offer anything in the way of a challenge. These couple of annoyances didnít really ruin my overall impression of the game, but they do bear mentioning.
Despite a few design flaws and a less than steller ending, Scarygirl still managed to leave an impression on me. Itís a visually striking game with some fairly enjoyable gameplay. Donít come to Scarygirl expecting a revolution of the platforming genre, but do come expecting a good time.
Sometimes, thatís all you need.
The Good/The Bad
+ Fantastic art style
+ Fairly enjoyable combat
+ Decent offline co-op play
- A few annoying design choices
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