review
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POSTED 18/2/11


RASKULLS

Halfbrick Studios
Xbox 360/XBLA

Charm’s an intriguing thing. It can get you a hell of a long way through life – even if you’ve all the substance of a bickie crumb. But if it’s the only string to your bow you’ll usually be found wanting.

Enough D&M, but there’s a point. Raskulls has charm aplenty, peculiar cobbling together of snarky space rat pirates and bizarre-o skull creatures with a penchant for dress-ups and all. It’s the idiotic-but-fun storyline sticky-taped to what’s billed as a puzzle game (but ultimately only has limited need for brainteaser noodling out) that appeals for its silliness – such as a super-weapon trying to be all foreboding whilst operating under the hefty acronymic burden of ‘CUDDLES’.

With allure credentials confirmed, what about the actual game? It’s a collision of Mr Driller (fucktonnes of Mr Driller) with everyday platforming fare (including obligatory hub world) and most any race-against-the-clock game ever – well, from a stressing-to-get-to-the-end-of-a-level-before-the-clock-says-BZZT point of view.

This is where Raskulls, much like our example in that opening paragraph up above there, is exposed. We reckon the ultimate goal of any game should be to be fun, not to make blood boil and have players chucking category five tanties able to decimate anything within a lounge roomic radius. There’s way too much stress here, with frustrating impediments frequently impedimenting. When puzzle-oriented levels actually do show up, such as having to carefully allocate zaps or turbos, they’re a blessed relief as your brain actually gets a turn.

Up to four players can be funnerer, but playmakers are penalised by clearing a path for competitors to yoink. Oops.

If we were more vapid we’d rave endlessly about Raskulls based on charm alone. But we’re deep bitches and see through the veneer, so them bones’ll have to suck on a...

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