5 January 2011

Review / Raskulls (XBLA)

“Oh great, another Tetris clone with some little twist to make it just different enough to avoid trademark infringement.”

That’s what I said to myself when I first started up the new Xbox Live Arcade offering, Raskulls, without knowing anything about the game and just taking in the odd shaped blocks my character had to break through. You, however, should not make the same mistake. Halfbrick Studios, best known for their iDevice lineup of games like Fruit Ninja and Monster Dash, have come out swinging on XBLA with a cheerfully colorful world filled with skull headed little people that has been invaded by rodent aliens. See? Tetris be damned.

Starting out in Raskulls as a solider who must retrieve an alien rat-napped skull medallion, which even the characters refer to as merely a plot point, the humor bar is placed and repeatedly pointed to and laughed at, causing it to grow old quickly. The medallion is saved but is put up for grabs in a in a tournament devised by the skull king in order to catch the evil Pirats. Along the way in his quest to retrieve the medallion,  the soldier gets hurt and cannot perform his duties as laid out by the king, so the wise ruler of the land resorts to the next best tournament competitor: a knight guarding a bridge.

Sadly the soldier cannot go into the forest alone – it is wheelchair inaccessible –  to inform the knight of his new duties, leaving the king no choice but to send a message to summon the next best thing: a dragon. These messages, by the way are just notes attached to large bricks which the king hurls out the royal window. A lot. Off go the dragon and wheelchair bound soldier on a mighty quest to fetch the knight. The soldier understands that the competition is tough and uses this time as a training ground for the dragon.

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