Welcome to Fairytale Fig... Scarygirl
XBLA and PSN have had some fantastic platform games in recent years from the brain mangling Braid to the sinister horror of Limbo. Great as these games were, neither had the added ingredient so dear to a Co-Optimus reader’s heart – co-op. Scarygirl could be the balm for this, as it combines the quirky ideals of these two great games and throws in local two player drop in/drop out co-op throughout. However, as witnessed many times on this very site, the addition of co-op in a game often makes it better, but it cannot paper over basic problems.
On booting up Scarygirl the first thing you notice is the excellent art style, based on the work of artist Nathan Jurevicius. Scarygirl is a Nightmare Before Christmas style creation of cute mixed with the macabre. After discussions with a giant octopus (her pal) Scarygirl sets out across a series of levels that sometimes branch off on different plains – 2D meets 3D. Scarygirl uses her tentacle like arm as a whip to hit enemies. After a while they will be stunned and she can grab them to use as a cudgel or throw at other enemies. Scarygirl jumps, bashes and runs through a series of artistic looking levels, until reaching the area’s boss.
Great art alone is not longer enough to sell a downloadable game, as so many of these games look stunning. It is invariably the basic mechanics that make or break the game; the visuals are the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, the Scarygirl cake seems to have been made out of mud and disappointment. After the art, it is the combat and jumping you are struck by the most; the fact they are poorly designed is a real point of failure. The weird floaty controls brought back unwanted memories of Fairytale Fights. Suddenly the visuals and music did too. Comparing a game to the fun, yet deeply flawed, Fairytale Fights is not a good thing, but like that game perhaps the experience would benefit from the co-op?