Co-op platformers are, hopefully, seeing a bit of resurgence these days with offerings like Trine, Ratchet & Clank, and a host of others on XBLA and PSN. This is a trend with which I’m certainly pleased as it’s always felt like the platformer genre lends itself quite well to co-operative gameplay. Finding a four player outing on XBLIG, then, was just what I was hoping to see, and I was not disappointed to find Final Failure.
While the exact plot details aren’t too clear, it looks as if robots have taken over and it’s up to you and your comrades to stop them. You’ll traverse across the game’s levels, jumping and shooting along the way, with the occasional boss battle tossed into the mix to spice things up. In between levels, you’ll be awarded five character points to spend increasing your character’s weapon damage, health, and/or special ability.
Speaking of characters, there are four classes from which to choose: gunner, defender, sniper, and medic. Each makes use of his own weapon, ranging from shotgun to automatic rifle, to deal out the damage to the robotic hordes, and has a special ability to help the team out when needed. The medic can heal team members, the defender can raise a shield to block incoming fire, and the sniper and gunner can dole out some major damage.
It’s hard to talk about the game from any kind of single player perspective, as playing Final Failure without a friend feels akin to eating cookies without a glass of milk. Many of the levels in the game have slightly divergent paths with enemies along each that can make the going rough in some areas, and the bosses certainly are easier to take down when you’ve got a friend that can provide a distraction while you reload your weapon (an interesting mechanic to include in an action platformer).
On the easiest difficulty level, these benefits will crop up from time-to-time but become readily apparent on the harder ones. Should one of the players die during the course of a level, there is a checkpoint midway through each of them that will restore all fallen comrades and restore surviving players’ health. So long as one player survives and makes it through to the end, the game will go on.
As previously mentioned, Final Failure’s strength as a platformer certainly relies on its co-operative gameplay. Playing through the game on your own makes some elements, such as the weapon reloading, the bosses, or the lack of any real checkpoint system, feel like flaws. Yet those same elements are what make the co-op so rewarding. Those tense moments when you hear a *click* from your weapon instead of a bang; your friend delivering the killing blow against a boss just as it comes close to delivering the same to you; or making it through to the end by the skin of your teeth. Those moments are what made me a co-op enthusiast and why I continue to be a fan of platformers.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with up to four friends locally to work as a group and take down the robot menace
Final Failure is For: Platformer fans