Foul Play is a Vaudevillian take on the 2D-brawler genre that puts you in the boots of Baron Dashforth, a daemon-hunter who recounts his adventures through a series of plays. The Victorian theme oozes from the sets, characters, and writing as developer Mediatonic nails the style for the side scrolling adventure.
The unique combat system borrows from Rock Band, where your points increase with your performance. The goal is to obviously defeat all the enemies on stage, but there is an emphasis on stringing together combos. There are no health meters for players or enemies, so it is all about style as your survival revolves around keeping the audience entertained. Your arsenal of moves increases with the character level, and the progression is very well paced in dolling out new abilities to the player. Bigger combos and flashier moves mean more points and better praises from the people who have paid good money to watch your play.
The title isn't just a nifty play on words, as the whole game is put on as a play. You will see spotlights being moved, sets constructed, and costumes changed - with a couple winks and nods here to remind you that it is a performance. It looks awesome, and feels really good, which is key for a brawler of this nature. By marrying theme and gameplay, Foul Play becomes your stage to put on a jolly good show. Of course, the audience takes on half of the screen at times, and some of the bosses are difficult so don't be surprised when a couple boos ring out from the crowd.
So get your costumes ready because you and a friend will be able to hit center stage come next Tuesday, September 17th.