Note: A code for this game was provided through #IndieSelect/Indie Gamer Chick and the developer, Groovy Milk, for streaming/promotional purposes. All opinions below are my own.
Creepy Road is a Run and Gun title developed and published by Groovy Milk. You play as Flint. He's a trucker who while on his way home finds himself in the middle of some mass hysteria. Your goal is to find, and eventually rescue, your girlfriend (Wife? I was a little unclear on her full role). It's a fairly basic setup story wise. But this leads into my favorite part of the game - the humor.
I wouldn't call the jokes world class, but I had a great time with it. The enemy variety was wonderful and their designs gave me a chuckle. Some highlights:
- Circus Bears on Unicycles
- Panda bears dropping themselves on you shouting banzai as they fall
- Cows with machine gun udders
The run and gun genre itself thrives on great weapon variety and Creepy Road doesn't disappoint here either. You have a lot of standards like the pistol, shotgun, machine gun, and rocket launcher, but there is a standout for silly humor here as well - the poop gun. It's little ray blast will turn whichever enemy it hits into a little pile of poop.
The levels of the game aren't too long and as such most of the level design doesn't wear out its welcome. Enemy visuals usually theme well with the levels they appear in as well. Those cows I mentioned earlier occur mostly in the first set of levels which take place outdoors around a carnival and farm. When we shift to a more urban setting, there are much fewer cows and more humanoid enemies. And this happens throughout.
There are 4 main sets of levels and as such there are roughly 4 bosses to take down on our journey. Each boss has it's own unique setup and method for taking them down. They mostly boil down to waiting for the appropriate moment when they have a weak spot appear (although that moment isn't glaringly obvious, it's more realizing they have stopped moving or are tired). The only boss that really gave me trouble was the 3rd one - a koala in a mech. It's missiles attack had me for a little while as I tried to determine how best to dodge (note: jumping is your friend - the splash damage on the rockets are a little brutal).
In terms of difficulty, Creepy Road will see you dying a lot. I started my time with the game on Normal (it has Easy, Normal, and Hard). I got through the 1st boss and began the second set of levels before hitting a brick wall. One of the arena challenges (the game stops you until you clear out enough enemies) had me dying repeatedly without much hope to advance. At this point I changed it down to Easy. The game became a bit of a cakewalk at that point though for me. I didn't try Hard really to see how much the game ramps up.
You might notice that my thoughts up to this point have been fairly positive. Unfortunately, it wasn't so straightforward. At this point, I'm just going to list off some of the issues I had with the game:
- Sound - While I enjoyed the enemy variety, the sound effects for shooting and killing them got very old quickly. I could have turned down the sound effects, but instead found myself turning down all of the volume instead. When you find yourself dying on a certain level, the repeated death cries of the enemies (and you) just didn't work for me.
- Controls - With how easy death can come to your character, sharp controls become very important. Unfortunately, traversing the level became harder and more dangerous because of a lack of crispness. I used the D-Pad to move (which usually helps me avoid that issue), but even then jumps weren't getting to me where I wanted and inputs were dropping out of nowhere. A couple of common occurrences:
1) Guns stop firing even when holding the fire button
2) Guns randomly fire when switching - this mainly happened when switching from a machine gun to the shotgun. It always seemed to fire off a shot right as I switched
3) Getting caught between objects and being unable to move or jump out
- Switching Difficulties - The menu system for loading and continuing does not lend itself to switching difficulty settings. You select it when you first begin and then you're stuck with it. If you want to change, you need to start a new game completely. Luckily with the game being short this issue is minimal, but it was a setback.
I will also note there was some frame rate drops and the game actually got stuck on a loading screen once (stuck enough for me to restart the game) but these issues were not present a lot and didn't come up for some of the other people I talked to. The frame rate issue occurred on the carnival level where I took a "safe" path about the ground with some hot air balloons. Apparently all the enemies spawning on the ground tanked the game there.
Achievement wise, Creepy Road shouldn't take most players that long. You will likely completely all of the levels before knocking out about one third of the achievements. This is because of the achievements requiring killing a bunch of enemies and dying a bunch. It doesn't take long (and there are some easy places to grind out both of those achievements).
Overall, Creepy Road is an average game. It was a fine distraction for the 4 hours I played to complete it, but it didn't really do anything that new or exciting within the genre. I had some laughs and earned the completion, but I don't think this game will stick with me. I'd recommend giving it a look if you're a fan of run and guns, but don't go in with real high expectations.