The Adventures of Shuggy is a puzzle game that challenges your wits against physical enemies, obstacles, gravity and the Xbox Live Leaderboards. There are loads of puzzle games on the market, but Shuggy looks to make its mark using a bit of strategy, and including co-op.
I know most developers hate to see their games compared to any other games, but sometimes it puts things in perspective to discuss what games this resembles. In the gameplay model of things, The Adventures of Shuggy can best be described as the single player puzzle masterpiece Super Meat Boy on a severe sugar overdose. Shuggy is a little bat-like character who has just inherited a large, haunted house, and has to go through the various rooms to fix issues like overzealous boilers and ghosts so he may live there peacefully.
To do this, he’ll have to explore rooms that each have an issue with them - each room has a set number of available keys, which you earn by collecting all of the glowing gems in the room. Some rooms have reverse gravity that puts you/Shuggy on the ceiling, others have switches that need to be hit at just the right time, or you control which direction a room is spun. The levels get weirder, and tougher to complete as they go on, but each can be completed in a few minutes (or seconds for a few) once you figure out the trick.
Artistically, Shuggy is incredibly unique. Each area has a series of levels (you start out in the Boiler room, then head to the gallery, then off to the graveyard, etc) that are visually different. Each level in the boiler room is a drab purple/grey color with cobwebs around the sides. The platforms are each made of wood and stone, and the high-contrast style means the things you need to look for are mostly incredibly bright (the gems are bright green, the spiders are bright red, the bees are yellow).
The goal of the game is to collect as many keys as you can to unlock additional doors, so Shuggy can clear out his newly inherited, slightly haunted house. The other goal is time. Each level has a spot on the leader board, and the ultimate challenge is to really perfect your style to get up on that leaderboard.
In order to truly complete every single door in every single area, you have to head over to the local multiplayer option, and sit down with a buddy to complete the co-op doors. Much like the single-player mansion, Shuggy (and friends) will work their way through various doors to unlock keys. The storyboard isn’t shown, but the number of keys you need is flashed over each area. You start in a dungeon, then move on with five keys to another area, where you earn more keys to unlock another area, etc.
Being separated from the single player, the co-op puzzles are completed in a different way. Each door will have a way for both players to work together in order to complete an area by collecting all of the gems. The puzzles look similar, but they’re usually only reachable by one player. Each player controls a different Shuggy character (There are five to choose from), and will complete their “half” of the co-op puzzle. No real character interaction, but it’s imperative you work together anyway.
The difficulty in the co-op, like the single-player campaign is increasing as you go on. Each player has to stay on their toes, since one player dying will have you both fail the level. You’re often separated, simply helping the other players path open up (early on by hitting switches for the other person, but other more complex challenges become available as you go on.
The co-op is not nearly as long or in-depth as the single-player, but the reward is somewhat heightened as both of you have to survive. Some frustration is shared between both players, but in this case it really builds character once you figure out the particular trick to the level. Playing online would be nice, since this type of game is reminiscent of co-op puzzle gems like ’Splosion Man in its execution (only with less coordinated stunts).
The Co-Op Experience: Play 36 twisted two-player levels in the offline co-op mode, with puzzles that can only be completed through cunning and teamwork.
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