With all the attention indie game developers have been getting these days, it’s no surprise that a game as simplistic as ScaryGirl could win its way into my heart. Combining both old and fresh ideas, ScaryGirl delivers a platforming experience that rivals big name masters of the genre like Little Big Planet, while settling for a unique experience all its own.
ScaryGirl’s plot unfolds very much like the pages of a storybook. You are sent on a mission (by your friendly neighborhood octopus) to discover why strange leaves are falling in your place of residence. Each level of the game is preceded by a brief summary of where Scary Girl is, and what is going on. A plot update, if you will. As you advance along the predetermined path, you slowly uncover the mystery surrounding your adventure, both in and out of gameplay.
The gameplay itself is a pretty solid experience, and is one of the main reasons that I found the game entertaining. Scary Girl is an odd sort of being, having strange extendable arms that can be used to fight off hordes of enemies. There is a very classic beat ‘em up feeling when you’re playing through the levels in Scary Girl. While you can mostly get by with slapping the square or triangle button for repetitive attacks, the enemies do get harder as the game progresses, and you may need a bit more strategy later on.
Fortunately, the game gives you access to a number of upgrades/modifications that can be purchased by merchants in most of the levels. There are select modifications that alter the damage, speed, etc of Scary Girl’s basic arm thrusting attacks. I use the word modification loosely, because they are more of a preference, if anything. The fan for example, makes you attack faster, but deals less damage; sort of just altering the style that best fits you. Another thing that can be purchased is combos. They fall under the same preference category as the mods; you can mostly get by without ever purchasing any of them. Most of them implement the grab feature in the game, which is almost completely unnecessary. As it stands, the upgrade system is a welcomable mechanic, but lacks any form of real incentive to use it.
Another true selling point of this title is the individual level designs. During the course of Scary Girl’s adventure, she will traverse forests, mountains, and even dark sinister caverns. A very cool feature in the levels is that the path will often split into two, branching your choices, and indeed your experience. In order to get a perfect score in the level you will need to backtrack so that you can go through both paths and collect all the gems.
When moving through the levels, you’ll also notice that you have no control over the camera, and that it sort of locks into position throughout the level. At first I thought that this was a letdown, but soon realized it really adds to the adventure. The camera will fix itself in awesome angles on occasion, giving a twist on what would otherwise feel like repetitive gameplay.
That’s not to say that ScaryGirl is in any way, a less than decent game. ScaryGirl combines a plethora of different elements that really solidify its gameplay and value as a whole. In order to get all 12 achievements/trophies, you must get perfect on every level; a pretty simple way of adding a couple extra gameplay hours. The story is nothing truly memorable, but its cartoon and simplistic nature more than make up for it. If you have an Xbox or a PS3, I highly recommend picking up this title, and I hope these devs continue making fun and idealistic games like ScaryGirl in the future.