Scarygirl started off as an award winning graphic novel. Its vibrant art style and interesting characters seemed ripe for a video game, and a few years back, there was a Scarygirl Flash game. Now, TikGames has evolved the franchise into a full-fledged downloadable title on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game retains the fresh style and successfully infuses tried-and-true classic side scrolling gameplay into the mix.
Scarygirl’s story is a bit strange, and her story isn’t as fleshed out as it could have been, but the main focus here is on the aesthetics and the gameplay. The game world bursts with vibrant colors and pops right off the screen, and truly captures the “storybook come to life” vibe that the creators were after. Whether you’re traversing through an urban setting, swimming underwater, or running through a mountain pass while being attacked by red goats the visuals are always beautiful and interesting. In our recent interview with Peter Dessenko, Producer at TikGames, he explained that Scarygirl’s author was heavily invested in the creative process and even sat in at the game studio late in the game’s development. You can see that his personal touch has paid off, as the collaboration between him and the artists perfectly captures the essence of the graphic novel.
The gameplay isn’t anything terribly inventive, but it is well done. Classic sidescrollers like Klonoa and Donkey Kong Country seem to be inspirations, as well as newer fare like LittleBigPlanet. There’s plenty of platforming, and Scarygirl will often employ the use of her tentacle arm to grab onto trees and other objects to swing, and also to attack her enemies, who are large in number and variety. Along the way there are lots of things to find and pick up, like heart containers and gem stones ,which are currency for an in-game shop. There you can purchase power ups that enable all sorts of new abilities, from increased attack power to the ability to hover long distances. My favorite is the Anaconda Squeeze (CM Punk reference?) , where Scarygirl grabs an enemy and squeezes it until it pops, whereupon her enemy’s vitality is transferred into herself. Unfortunately, the shopkeeper doesn’t appear in every level, which can be frustrating if you have the money for an upgrade and are having a tough time beating a level.
I applaud the developers for going for an old school feel with Scarygirl, and overall it is quite an accomplishment. The visuals are awesome, the gameplay is fun and there’s a ton of stuff to collect and upgrade. Considering that you can even have a buddy join the fun, there’s not much I can complain about here. TikGames has done a stellar job and created a game worthy of an award winning graphic novel.