Scott Pilgrim is dating Ramona Flowers – but before he can claim her as his true love, he must fight his way past Ramona’s 7 Evil Exes! Based on the cult hit comic book series and out just in time for the blockbuster movie adaptation, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a 2D sidescroller jam packed with retro gaming throwbacks, from River City Ransom to Mega Man. Is this retro homage gaming glory or a worthless tie in?
The game follows the basic story of the comic book series fairly well – the teen drama relationship side of Scott Pilgrim is kept out in favour of defeating the evil exes in crazy, over the top boss fights – and wraps it up in solid, 2D brawling mechanics. The game strongly resembles River City Ransom in its blend of RPG-esque stat boosting and levelling and traditional 2D fighting. Movement speed, strength, special abilities and combo moves are all increased and unlocked as your chosen character – either the titular Scott, his girlfriend Ramona, or his bandmates Stephen and Kim – advances through each level of the game and defeats enemies to earn experience and money to buy stat boosts and health items from the stores dotted throughout the game (in another homage to River City Ransom, in the first level Scott’s gay room mate Wallace runs a secret shop containing powerful items hidden under a bridge, only locatable by the star on the hidden doorway). Although starting off the gameplay suffers from you having a weakened character – you move painfully slowly when not dashing, and your punches and kicks deal tiny amounts of damage – over the course of the game as you advance your own stats it manages to remain both fun and varied.
Scott Pilgrim’s solid and entertaining gameplay is matched by it’s absolutely stunning presentation. Ubisoft have really pulled out all the stops to make the game look beautifully retro, yet also charmingly modern at the same time. Paul Robertson has done an amazing job with the art of the game, eloping Brian Lee O’Malley’s simplistic Manga style and giving it a brilliant pixellated twist. The game’s world is an absolute joy to run through, full of vibrant colours and details for fans of retro games and of the comic book series. The soundtrack is a stellar turn from chiptune band Anamanaguchi as well – every single level has an amazing, upbeat piece of music attatched, blending the chiptune tones from the likes of the SNES era with brilliant guitar riffs that create an outstanding and funky soundtrack that is guaranteed to be stuck in your head for the foreseeable future.
If anything, the only flaw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has is that there is no online co-op over PSN or XBL. Local co-op is available for those with the pads and nearby friends to spare, and the game is an absolute blast when played this way, but for those less social amongst us, or with distant friends, it should be a crushing disappointment and perhaps a dealbreaker. But the charm and simple joy the game can bring, from the fun gameplay to the amazing presentation, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is brilliant from start to finish, whether you’re a fan of the books or not. If you buy any downloadable title this year, make sure you pick this one up.
Developer: Ubisoft Chengdu
Genre: 2D beat-em-up
Time: Completed the story with Scott, around 6 or 7 hours. Played 2 player local co-op for another 3.
Gripes: A lack of online co-op is disappointing, and getting started with a new character for the first time can be a little too demanding.
Get it for the: Solid gameplay, the amazing art and the addictive soundtrack.