GAME NAME: BattleBlock Theater
DEVELOPER(S): The Behemoth
PUBLISHER(S): The Behemoth
PLATFORM(S): Xbox Live Arcade
GENRE(S): Sidescrolling Platformer
RELEASE DATE(S): April 3rd, 2013
Ill be honest with you, when I first started to play BattleBlock Theater I absolutely hated it. I’d expected a lot better from The Behemoth – creators of the best selling Xbox Live Arcade Game of all time Castle Crashers (second only to Minecraft) – and this game didn’t seem to be fulfilling it, aside from the infectious music at the beginning.
Then I started to actually play it. Now, I’m ranked number one on the worldwide leaderboards and I’ve put in almost fifty hours over the course of five days.
Needless to say this game is nearly perfect, but let’s back up a little bit, first. BattleBlock Theater is the next game from the creators of Castle Crashers – one of the best games on the Xbox Live Arcade. It’s a 2D sidescrolling platformer adventure game. The story in BattleBlock Theater is a tale of friendship and betrayal. After your boat – the SS Friend Ship – crashes on a mysterious island, everyone’s best friend and nicest man in the world Hatty Hattington goes missing. As you travel inside this dark and dangerous theater you see Hatty being captured by a gang of straight-faced hats and being put under the power of an evil looking hat.
But the story of BattleBlock Theater isn’t an important one, and it will only be presented to you in hilarious cutscenes after each sections “finale” – a set of two levels that are timed for maximum challenge. Throughout the games eight sections you’ll play over a hundred different levels, all of which are different in co-op. The game plays like a sidescrolling platforming, where you’ll have to use precise timing and some basic puzzle skills to figure them out. The gameplay is brilliantly addictive and very rarely will you face a challenge you can’t beat with a decent amount of practice. There’s also an insane mode which takes away the frequent checkpoints and gives you one life per level. Each time you do you’re whisked away right back to the beginning.
While the single player may be an amazing expierence, the multiplayer is where you’re likely to spend most of your time – and rightly so, because it’s a near perfect and worth every second you’ll put into it. There are 10 different game modes to play through, the most noteworthy being Color the World and Ball Game. Color the World puts you in a large section of blocks that are all grayed out with the object being simply to touch more blocks than your opponent before time is up. Ball Game plays like a combination of Basketball and Football with you throwing a soccer ball into the basket to score points. There’s plenty more gamemodes to experience, and they’re all buckets of fun. The story mode also has co-op levels, althoguh they call them “co-optional” because you never really have to treat the person your with as a friend. Sure, you could throw them accross the water to your goal, but wouldn’t it be more fun to push them to their water grave then use their floating corpse as a stepping stone? I think so.
The best part of it all is the games Community Theater, a beautiful slice of gaming that lets you play levels of every gamemode made by fans using the games fun and simple level builder. This gives the game an infinite amount of replayability because as long as there are people out there to make levels, you can keep playing levels! In the event of an apocalypse that leaves only you left on Xbox Live, though, you can just make your own fun levels to play.
BattleBlock Theater is a beautifully crafted game that gives you a full $60 of entertainment for a mere fraction of the cost. The Behemoth has managed to capture the same spark they gave Castle Crashers and then increase it tenfold. This game is a shoe in for my Game of the Year Nomination and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not picking it up.
BattleBlock Theater is available now on the Xbox Live Arcacde for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15). A copy of the game was supplied by The Behemoth in advance for this review.