Indie Review: The Adventures Of Shuggy
The Adventures of Shuggy is a little gem of an indie title that has sadly flown under the radar of many. That said, should gamers pay more attention to it? Read on to find out our verdict.
- Worth The Time?Yes, it's packed with content and there's co-op.
- Things LovedThe puzzles are imaginative and varied, there are tons of levels, the co-op levels are awesome, the game looks adorable, the music is great.
- Things HatedControls aren't as precise as you'd hope, it takes very long to progress through the single player to get to the more challenging levels, the game can be quite frustrating.
- RecommendationIf you need a simple and fun game to play that will keep you busy for a long time, then this is a good option, as it's packed with content and entertaining gameplay. The enjoyable co-op mode adds extra incentive.
- Name: The Adventures Of Shuggy
- Genre: Puzzle Platformer
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Local co-op (2 players)
- Platforms: PC, XBLA
- Developer: Smudged Cat Games
- Publisher: Valcon Games
- Price: 800 Microsoft Points, $9.99 (R81.45)
- Reviewed On: PC
The Adventures of Shuggy is a great example of micro entertainment, from its imaginative levels right down to its lighthearted story. In the game you take on the role of Shuggy the little vampire, who has inherited an enormous castle that is unfortunately full of problems he needs to sort out. That’s basically the gist of it, and the story is told to you through cute comic-style cutscenes that make its delivery very pleasant, if not quite minimal. It’s a nice platform to get you into the game, and helps to keep things entertaining. Seriously, it’s quite hard to resist Shuggy’s adorable gigantic eyeballs. Okay, I’ll stop.
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The game is basically a room-based platformer, in which each room features a large number of doors. Each door is naturally a level, but the catch is that only a few will be open at any given time, and as you complete each level more nearby doors will open. You’ll need to work your way up through all the doors and collect keys upon completing each level. Of course, collecting a certain amount of keys will allow you to open big doors. It’s a nice structure in the sense that you have a little bit of freedom regarding the order you want to play through the levels, and this prevents you from being stuck on and forced to complete one of the more evil levels before you can progress. However, you’ll still have to return at a later stage to finish said evil level, but at least you’re able to procrastinate it and move on.
There are over 150 levels in the game, and 36 of those are designed for co-op play. The fantastic amount of content is probably what you’ll appreciate most about the game alongside its creativity, and it’s easy to say that The Adventures of Shuggy does really well to keep you occupied. While thankfully the great and varied level design prevents the experience from feeling repetitive, the reality is that it unfortunately takes quite a while to progress to the more challenging and memorable levels in the game. This isn’t exactly a deal breaker, but it does make the pacing feel quite slow at times.
The Adventures of Shuggy is simple to play, and very rewarding as a result. You’ll control Shuggy with your directional keys, jump around the place and interact with the environment using the action key. The idea of the game is to collect all of the green gems on-screen in order to complete a level. While that sounds pretty ordinary, the magic in this title comes from its exciting variety and imaginative puzzles which helps keep the game feeling fresh and addictive. There are some great mechanics at work here spread across the various rooms you’ll land up in. Some rooms might allow you to rotate the entire level, or dramatically increase your size. Some will feature weird time distortions where every thirty seconds a clone of Shuggy is created that mimics everything you did in that time, and touching this clone means death. Some will give you the ability to teleport, or even take control out of your hands, forcing you to be constantly moving while you make use of chargable jumps to avoid lethal obstacles.
It’s definitely these mechanics that make the game special, and allow it to feel exciting. Not to mention pretty damn frustrating at times, because it can happen that certain levels give you hell or that you die just before collecting the last gem in a rather long and difficult level. This can sometimes be made worse by your movement, which doesn’t feel as slick and smooth as it should be, but rather floaty. It’s not that bad really, but it definitely could be a bit better. However, at any time the game can be made infinitely better with the excellent co-op mode, which offers local play. I can’t remember the last time I played a game where two people could play on the same keyboard. It’s quite refreshing. The Xbox Live Arcade version offers some online multiplayer modes as well, but judging by what I’ve seen and heard they aren’t really that amazing and it would probably be difficult to find a game due to the lack of attention this title receives. As such, being able to play locally is a real gem. The two-player co-op levels are where you’ll get the most reward in this game, although make sure you play with someone who is half decent because if one of you dies, you’ll have to restart the entire level.
The game has a very clean and dully coloured look to it, but not really in a bad way. The art style works, although it’s not particularly amazing. That said, it’s pleasant on the eye and the game is very cute. There’s certainly a welcome sense of variety to its design, which helps the visual experience stay fresh. The music is catchy and quite enjoyable to listen to, and I personally liked the sound effects. The game has a very childish or kiddy feel to it, and that works to give it an attractive charm.
The Adventures of Shuggy is simple, fun and packed with imaginative content and solid variety in its gameplay. It’s definitely worth playing and does a great job of keeping you occupied. It goes without saying that the awesome co-op mode only sweetens the deal in this all-round good platformer.