Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the second in a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee Oâ€™Malley. Scott Pilgrim vs The World is also a movie currently out in cinemas in NZ at the moment. And now, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is also a game, available for download on the PS Network and Xbox Live Marketplace.
A graphic novel that reads like a game. A movie that feels like a graphic novel. And a game that feels likeâ€¦well, itâ€™s a game that feels like lots of things â€“ and all of them are good. You could be forgiven for thinking the game is just another movie spin-off; or another twee indie retro reference thatâ€™s high on style but low on substance. But youâ€™d be wrong on both counts.
At its heart, Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game (SPvTW:TG â€“ gads, even that feels long to type) feels like a love letter from the past. Itâ€™s a reminder of what gaming was like fifteen years ago, when you played arcade Street Fighter at the takeaways while you waited for your fish and chips. Itâ€™s completely glorious in its 8-bit stylings, and yet SPvTW:TG offers so much more than its forbears, that it holds up surprisingly well even compared to games of a more modern vintage.
So whatâ€™s it all about? Well, the game, movie and graphic novel all have the story line in common: Scottâ€™s just met a girl named Ramona Flowers, and heâ€™s pretty keen to make her his girlfriend. Unfortunately before that can happen, Scottâ€™s got to fight each one of Ramonaâ€™s seven ex-boyfriends. That gives players seven levels to fight through, each building up to a boss battle against one of the boyfriends. But to even reach the evil boyfriends, players have to first make their way, through a side-scrolling level, fraught with peril: youâ€™ll be attacked by everything from zombies to aliens, paparazzi, and even local neighbourhood bullies. Characters have to smash and bash their way through waves of enemies, using all resources at hand.
You can play as either Scott, Ramona, or their friends Kim Pine or Stephen Stills. Up to four people can play at once (though the multiplayer isnâ€™t an online feature â€“ yes, you have to all be in the same room) a minimum of two players is highly recommended, as the game can get pretty grindy if you try to play it solo. Each character plays slightly differently, and as they level up they all get new moves and abilities.
Weapons of all kinds are strewn about the landscape, and all can be used, either as melee or thrown weapons. Thereâ€™s a gigglingly-great selection of them, including things like snowballs, rocks and orange street cones, as well as garbage cans, street signs, and even fallen enemies themselves. On top of these useful items, there are also plenty of shops where characters can buy food (to help top up dwindling â€˜heartâ€™ and â€˜gutâ€™ points, or grant new abilities).
The controls, and aim of the game, are pretty simple, but just describing them doesnâ€™t go far enough in capturing just how much fun this game is to play â€“ especially with another person. With two (or more) players, more options become available during gameplay. Players can revive fallen comrades, lend them money in stores, and work together to create combined attacks. With the awesome soundtrack by chiptune band Anamanaguchi, and quite riotous violence, the gameâ€™s awesome to pull out with a friend or two.
And yes, the game does look great. Everything from the anime-pixellated characters, to the overhead map of Toronto, and even the little mooseheads on the coins that fall to the streets. For all its retro/indie vibe, SPvTW:TG has some serious production value.
SPvTW:TG also offers some good incentives for replay. Not only is the game just a good one to casually sit down and play on a whim, youâ€™ll also want to reach full-level-up status for each of the four characters, save up for all the expensive goodies in the shops, unlock additional characters, and even some new game modes, including a Survival Horror mode, where you take on hoardes of zombies.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game is also incredibly good value: itâ€™s currently going for less than 20 bucks, via download on the Playstation Network. Thereâ€™s also a demo you can download if youâ€™re still not sure.
I give it 8/10 for a well-executed idea, great presentation, wicked soundtrack, and solid replayability. You should definitely check it out.