(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 3.5 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 3.5 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 3 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 1.5 Stars
World Gone Sour
- Street Date:
- April 11th, 2012
- Reviewed by:
- Chad Goodmurphy
- Review Date:1
- April 16th, 2012
- Game Release Year:
- Xbox 360
- Playbrains, Beefy Media
- ESRB Rating:
- T (Teen)
Beginning life as Mars Men in the 1970s, the iconic Sour Patch Kids candy product has just branched out from its food industry confines. The tiny, and individually coloured candy treats are now the stars of a downloadable video game from Beefy Media, Playbrains and Capcom. Entitled World Gone Sour, the five-dollar release combines mechanics from the platformers of yesteryear with high-definition graphics and rap music. Yes, you read that all correctly.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
World Gone Sour provides insight into one of life’s burning questions, letting us humans know what happens to Sour Patch Kids that get lost on their fate-based journey. Its profound narrative tells the story of one green guy, who just so happened to fall into a garbage can after a movie-goer suffered a case of vertigo. Having lost his best friend in a factory mishap, the chewable candy piece decides to venture out of the trash-filled trap, in an attempt to find a human’s belly.
Over the course of a three hour span, gamers must use minions to help them get from point A to point B, and so on. There are nine stages to be found in this 1.3gb download, all of which are grouped into three different world categories. What begins in a cinema’s garbage can ends up moving to a young girl’s creepy room, before making its way to a mysteriously active woodshed. Sprinkled in-between each of those trips is a boss fight against rogue Kids who bring the term insane to a new level. Touching upon the fact that those unique individuals can possess certain items is asinine, because it creates too many questions that simply cannot be answered.
Attempting to achieve the end goal that was suddenly taken away from him, our assumed hero (if you will) must take advantage of his lost peers. What this creates is a game that borrows from both Mario and Pikmin with an easy comparison able to be drawn between its designs and Hothead Games’ 2011 release, Swarm. Instead of helping others, you sacrifice them. Needing to activate a switch? Just throw a few allies at it. Needing to kill an enemy? Do the same thing, or jump on its head.
In total, there are eight different ways to sacrifice (there’s that word again) fellow Sour Patch Kids candy pieces in World Gone Sour, proving that it truly is not a game for kids. While these are pieces of jelly and sugar that we’re talking about, they end up dying in some rather cringe-worthy ways. Environmental traps like active hot plates and spinning saws will melt and cut players and their minions, while spikes and knives will impale or chop them. Killing one ally for the greater good is occasionally required, but most of their deaths will result in the player’s attempt to earn more points.
First and foremost, the player’s duty is to make it through each stage without losing his allotted amount of lives. This is easier said than done as select areas require some rather precise movement – something that World Gone Sour occasionally struggles with. There were times where its controls wouldn’t work properly, leading to a frustrating and cheap demise. However, those occurrences were rather rare, although the game’s general jumping mechanics could have been more precise.
Getting through certain areas requires intelligent use of what is a size-based health system, which feels like it was borrowed directly from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. The unnamed green candy starts off as a member of the small Sour Patch Kids line that most people are accustomed to. However, by absorbing a certain amount of his pals, he is able to grow in size twice. Being small allows for movement within tight space confines, but being larger has more benefits. You can jump higher, cause more damage, break flimsy blockades and take more hits.
Along the way, changing sizes can aid attempts at collecting chewy candies that provide extra lives, as well as point total boosting stars and special golden statues. Each level has a great assortment of the first two types, but only five statues. Those act as prestigious collectibles, and finding all of them will earn you an achievement or trophy. Most aren’t difficult to find, but there are a couple well-hidden ones.
Stage attempts are rated after all is said and done, using a points system that combines players’ stars collected, enemies killed, allies saved and collectibles discovered. The resulting total is posted on stage-specific leaderboards, with an accumulated total acting as the user’s overall campaign score. This system provides a good way to challenge friends, as there’s a lack of competitive or online multiplayer to be found in the game’s download file. Local, two-player co-op is available, however.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Taking on the role of a tiny, candy-based character means that a great reduction in perceived scale must occur. By being up to the task, Playbrains and Beefy Media were able to create interesting stages based on real-life environments. Liberties were definitely taken considering live hot plates are scattered across a child’s room, and other strange items can be found in different areas, but they make for a more interesting world. Working through a neat room where there’s nothing to avoid would make for a boring gameplay experience, after all. At least the mess was used to progress what is a unique storyline.
World Gone Sour is not a visual marvel, but it does look pretty good. The included environments show quite a bit of detail, and a lot of care was put into turning discovered products into comical jokes. There’s a lot of character to be found in general, even though the game doesn’t pop off the screen like some other current generation releases do. It's a tad on the dark side, and could've used some more visual variety. Then again, those two things don't mar the experience too much. However, the game's surprisingly long loading times will annoy users.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
What’s surprising about World Gone Sour is the amount of star power it contains. Method Man wrote a song about the candies, which happens to be available after the game’s credits roll, and Creed Bratton of The Office fame provides narration throughout its entirety. His inclusion adds extra character to the game, although the script they used could have been better. Those spoken words are full of cheesy jokes, but that’s not much of a surprise given the advertisements found throughout each level.
Complementing the above-mentioned vocal talents are some boisterous sound effects, as well as quality music that cannot be lumped into one genre classification. Those tunes work well with the zany and morbid action that is showcased within, as well as the game’s overall presentation style. Every one of these audible aspects sounds good with a lack of any noticeable issues, although there’s nothing memorable about them.
There’s a notable lack of replay value to be found here, unless you’re an achievement or trophy hunter. The game’s unlock list is quite basic, but it promotes attempts at finding every one of the aforementioned statues. This means second or third visits to stages where one or two may have been missed, artificially adding replay value. Each level happens to be about fifteen to twenty minutes long on average, but previously discovered statues do not need to be found again.
With an asking price of only five dollars, World Gone Sour is a solid purchase, containing a quirky premise and interesting gameplay mechanics. Fans of unforgiving old-school platformers will want to check this one out, especially since it’s perfectly priced. However, the experience is not a perfect one, and happens to suffer from some mechanical issues, terribly long loading times and a lack of replay value. Despite those noted issues, there’s quite a bit to like in what is a surprisingly decent, albeit strange release.
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