Review: Scarygirl (Xbox Live Arcade)

By Wayne Webb

Scarygirl is what you would get if Tim Burton wrote and illustrated a children’s book and then made that into a videogame. It’s a wonderfully drawn and presented platform game with weird and bizarre creatures as heroines, with alien and odd denizens as enemies.

As the eponymous Scarygirl you are on a mission in a truly linear fashion to help your adopted parent (some kind of oddball Squid/Octopus thing) solve a problem and the answer lies at the end of the enchanted forest and mountain full of yeti etc, etc.

You run, jump and hit things until you get to the end of the level and then the story progresses on from there. I’ve not played it through to the end yet as my kids want to see the story as it progresses, but I have to assume that there will be either a happy ending or a suitably Burtonesque lesson in oddity at the finale.

Colourful and brightly featured, despite the name and the often dark environments, this is beautiful game to play, but it does have frustrations. You don’t learn to do much except the basic platform style moves. The game branches down different paths into the background and foreground at various points, yet remains circular (in linear path terms) as all roads lead to the same place. Also when the path takes a turn into perspective, the camera control and the perception of depth and angle are at odds. This is a bit confusing and frustrating when trying to navigate and fight/jump at the same time.

Overall a fun little game and not as scary as the title would imply. Standard platform fun, it has a winning design coupled with a unique look and story to balance out the odd controls.

Pros: Beautifully designed, standard platform fun, storybook like plotting and presentation, different enough to be interesting.
Cons: Repetitive and mostly linear, with occasional depth perception issues.

3.5 Shacks Out Of 5


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