We’ve come so far in terms of gaming. We have huge expansive worlds with amazing graphics, incredibly complex gameplay, but nothing quite compares to an extremely polished 2D platformer. It is one of the oldest genres of gaming and I am astonished by how much fun they can still be. If you’re a fan of Super Meat Boy or N+, you’re next controller crushing addiction is here to satisfy your needs.
Battleblock Theater starts out sweet and innocent as you and all your friends travel the seas on the S.S. Friend…ship (their joke not mine). You land on an island inhabited by unusually well dressed cats. Better dressed than the cats we see every day, so it’s pretty incredible. The cats main source of entertainment is a theater/prison. They immediately put your fearless leader Hatty under a spell using a…hat, who then promptly starts using you for the demented cat shows. All of this is hilariously narrated and overflows with Behemoth style. The story is told with simple yet clever cut scenes in-between the games chapters.
This set up is the perfect excuse for actual gameplay. It is an extremely polished 2D platformer set in squared off levels. All the components are made out of a set of blocks. There are fan blocks, jump blocks, fire blocks that make fly into the air, warp blocks the list goes on. This along with items strewn about is all crammed together in an exhaustive amount of levels in some incredibly creative ways. The generous spawn points never make the going too frustrating and it only gets better with friends.
There are several modes for multiplayer which include all out battling to CO-OPing the single player. The brilliant thing is the CO-OP levels seem the same at first, but almost every level has been modified to require you to work together. One player stands on the switch, while I pick them up and throw them into their watery graves, because I’m hilarious.
With all the good, the one stumbling block (pun intended) is the combat. I never really got the hang of all out combat. When I had to fight an enemy, it usually put a damper on my mood because I would usually resort to button mashing hoping I would land a blow.
Even still, the platforming and never ending creativity out of the levels kept me playing. The story is hilarious and its incredibly addicting to collect all the prisoners from the evil cats. There are hundreds of levels and I still haven’t seen them all, and when I’m done with those, they are making more every day with the built in editor and that is definitely a good thing.
This review is based on a retail copy of Battleblock Theater for the Xbox 360.