From the creators of the endlessly fun game Castle Crashers comes an even more fun, challenging and comical game, BattleBlock Theater. Losing your friends aboard the SS friendship, crashing into an island, being taken prisoner by cats and forced to perform in their creepy theatre would seem pretty bad, but instead it is hilarious.
Similar in aesthetics to the cartoon cutout style of Castle Crashers, your goal is to complete puzzling and dangerous levels to entertain the cat audience and secretly learn more about the weird prison theatre and what it has done to your top hat wearing friend, Hatty Hattington. The levels played are platform style and as a result can sometimes feel repetitive in long gaming sessions, but developers The Behemoth have included enough variants and challenging puzzle sections to keep any gamer entertained for a good while. As you complete levels the theatre becomes more popular, with your surroundings becoming more and more lavish.
Collecting gems in the levels allows you to free other prisoners, whose design you can adopt for your own player. From dinosaurs to an old man the multitude of possibilities gives a great incentive to collect ALL the gems, increasing the replayability of the game. Playing co-op mode also increases the fun, with different levels and the need for teamwork making BattleBlock Theater a whole different encounter. Similarly to Castle Crashers there is the option to play with two players on one device, or connect with friends via Steam and online.
Gameplay wise, prepare to be amazed, amused and a little bit weirded out. The comedy is the most championable aspect of BattleBlock, with the narration providing quirky humour that will leave you short of breath multiple times. For the PC version of the game it is recommended that you use a controller, as playing with a keyboard can be a game of Dance Dance Revolution for your fingers at times.
BattleBlock Theater is a genuinely enjoyable game that makes you want to play a re-play and then re-play again to find all the secret rooms, collect all the balls of yarn and witness the side splitting cut scenes over and over. Whilst the levels can sometimes be frustratingly difficult, it is the sign of a good game which makes you want to do well and drives you mad when you can’t. Either that or it is the chiptune style music slowly melting your brain.
Words by Louise Egan