Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Project FINISH HIM!: BattleBlock Theater

So the first game I've completed out of the FINISH HIM! category I have on Steam is BattleBlock Theater.

For anyone who doesn't know, it's a platformer with lots of death, humor, and cats from The Behemoth, who also brought us Castle Crashers.  To be honest, I bought it just because doing so unlocks Hatty Hattington in Castle Crashers, but to my credit, it looked like a fun game to begin with and I probably would've bought it anyway.

It is indeed fun, though it gets kind of frustrating in the later levels.  It's a "how the heck do I do this?" kind of frustration, not a "there's absolutely zero room for error" kind of frustrating.  In other words, it's frustration that lasts 20-30 deaths and then suddenly something clicks in your brain and you figure out the completely insane thing they want you to do.

There's more gameplay to it than the singleplayer story mode, though.  You can play the story mode co-op, and there's some versus modes, bonus levels, and then community created levels courtesy of Steam Workshop.  I've only played the singleplayer, because reasons.

I did, however, cheese a bit of local multiplayer in the versus mode.  Doing so gets you gems, out of an infinite supply.  With gems, you can unlock more player heads.  It kind of sucks, it's a grand total of five gems per match, each player head costs 15 gems, and there's a shitton of player heads.  Someone at The Behemoth really, really thinks players like to grind.  Some players might enjoy it, but in a platformer?  Probably not.

The game's story is fairly simple, but the narration is hilarious.  You can re-watch each chapter's cutscene as many times as you like from a menu that's kind of buried.  The narrator also commentates your gameplay, or to be more precise, your deaths, with such lines as "that was good, but...  do gooder." and "you're doing it wrong, do it right!".

The graphics are simple and effective.  If a block has a special purpose, it looks different from the rest.  Secrets are hinted at with differently-colored blocks that you can walk through, or something in the environment being slightly different from its surroundings.  The art style is basically what you could expect if you'd played any of The Behemoth's other games.

The music is great, and the ending song is incredibly quirky and catchy.  I had to adjust the balance of the various sound volume sliders so I could hear it better.  That and sound effects that get layered multiply in volume, so you'll want to turn that SFX dial down, especially if you use headphones.  There's a few levels that really offend in that department, much moreso than the others.  For the majority of the game it's not an issue.

The controls work well.  It's the standard Behemoth "we recommend a controller to play!" with a picture of a 360 controller, but there's also keyboard controls.  My only complaint is that the cooldown on switching weapons is way too long.

Worth noting, the Windows system requirements listed on Steam are completely ridiculous.  I'm running the game on a 2GHz single core CPU with DirectX 9, and it runs beautifully.  Minimum requirements are definitely below what they claim.

Overall, I'd recommend getting the game, but wait for a sale because it's $15.

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