Inspired by one of the webs most charming comics, Scary Girl finally gets her own console game to show off all that beautiful art direction. Coming into this game, I had two questions. Is she a girl and is she scary?
Sadly, no, I don’t think either of those things are completely true. Well, she is a girl/monster (More monster than “girl”). She has been raised by a giant squid named blister her whole life. Now I see what you’re saying, that doesn’t make any freaking sense. Yes I know, but you see, she was adopted. So that makes it better. It actually doesn’t. Not a lot in this games makes sense. There are crazy things happening all around you, but its all part of its whacky charm.
As for the second question, is it scary? No, just no. It’s more odd than scary. The world is populated by monsters, but they are all fairly tame and artsy. They are colorful fantastical creatures. They look pretty great, with interesting art direction, but no, not scary.
So if she isn’t a girl and she isn’t scary, what is Scary Girl? Scary Girl is a very solid action platformer. The game features 3D worlds with the gameplay being mostly limited to a 2D plane. Travel consists of moving left to right with branching paths at multiple points. The levels are varied enough, but most of them feature a similar gothic ascetic. That isn’t to say they aren’t impressive. You travel to some unique looking locals. But the gameplay in each of them is pretty similar with some minor variations.
The gameplay is more of the action variety than the strong platforming kind. You have a heavy and light attack with multiple combo variations. As you play you collect gems allowing you to upgrade certain aspects and get new attacks. Scary Girl also has the ability to grab downed enemies with her hook arm and use them as projectiles. When jumping she can spin her hook arm around to hover or grab on to branches and swing.
None of this is terribly original which is the main downside to this game. It all feels samey. Every aspect of this game has been in other games before. Beyond that, the implementation isn’t very polished. Fighting can be extremely chaotic and frustrating at times. If I knock an enemy down and they fall on top of me, I shouldn’t start to get hit by them after an arbitrary amount of time because they are next to me. This fact alone limits your fighting choices. This is just one example of the odd quirks this game has that so many similar titles solved years ago.
So aside from the rather familiar gameplay, I also did not get sucked in by the story. The art direction is great, but the story never sucked me in. Scary girl is on a journey to find her destiny or something. Unfortunately I couldn’t care or not if she got there. That is the one requirement a story should have. Make the player want to see the end.
All and all though, the game is not bad. It is solid in most aspects. If you are a fan of Scary Girl, you will probably love this game. The unique art direction and style is translated very well and the action and upgrades do make it a worth while game to check out if you’re into action platforming.
This review is based on a retail copy of Scarygirl provided by the publisher. It is also available for PC and PSN.