mikelemmer's Scary Girl (PC) review

Pretty Pictures on a Poor Platformer

Download Size: 1.2GB

Time Played: 3.5 hrs.

Levels Finished: 14/21

What I'd Pay: $5

Steam Price (4/15/12): $10

If only Scarygirl's gameplay matched the stylistic prowess shown. The dark, cartoony graphics are the first thing that comes to mind about this game, and they certainly stand out, but everything else in this game falls too short of the mark for the graphics to prop it up.

For example, the second thing I remember is how it smacks of a rushed port from Xbox Live. The controls are fixed to certain buttoms, many of the instructions still have the Xbox button prompts displayed, there's no fullscreen mode, and the resolution occasionally switches back to the default setting. It looks like they put minimal effort into porting it to Steam.

Lovely angle, but how am I supposed to line myself up with the gems like this?

That would be forgiveable if the controls worked better. The controls feel awkward, which is not good for a platformer with light combo fighting. Jumping in particular is clumsy. If you hold down the Jump button, Scarygirl can hover for a short amount of time. She moves about twice as fast during this hover as she does with a normal jump, making it very hard to line up a landing. This problem gets worse because if you hold down the Jump button to jump, she will automatically hover at its apex, making it very easy to overshoot a target or fly into an enemy. (She can't attack while hovering, either.)

The attacking is similarly clumsy. The enemies in the first few stages are easy to defeat and kill, but once you reach the midpoint of the game, it's hard to pull off anything besides basic clobbering. Grapple moves can only be done once they've taken a certain amount of damage, but the range between "can grapple" and "dead" is so small you have to space out your attacks to avoid kililng them first. There's also a juggling mechanic, but juggled enemies drift towards you, eventually landing on your head & damaging you, making it more trouble than it's worth. Even if you rely solely on basic attacks, you eventually reach enemies that block those. When you try break their block with a combo, they often do a quick thrust halfway through it, damaging you before you can break it and forcing you to restart the combo when they begin blocking again.

Spider Cave: Best level, unless you're an arachnophobe.

At least the game only tosses 1-2 blockers at a time at you (at least on the paths I took), until Level 5-3... which was a fight gauntlet. I had to fight 5 groups of 3-4 of them without any health refills, except for what I could grapple out of them (dicey in good circumstances, sheer luck here). Seven attempts later, I still couldn't get past it. It was the 2nd difficulty spike in the game so far; the 1st one was a 10-minute platforming section I had to do in one run because I accidently hit all the savepoints prematurely. This one led to me quitting the game.

I could've handled the wonky controls until the game threw long, difficult stretches at me. At that point, it wasn't worth it anymore. The good graphics was my only draw to this game, and I didn't want to toss another half-hour at a single stage just to see what was next.

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