The VideoKidDeveloped by: VideoKid Games
One sentence review:
The 1980s were great weren't they? - well as a child anyway, anyone being an unfortunate adult in the 1980s suffered through major financial crisis, selling off industries and strikes under the reign of Thatcher were prevalent. As a kid though, boy was it awesome, the films the TV shows, the music, the colours! Everything about the 80s rocked, and it still does. In recent years there seems to be an avid love for everything from the 80s from the resurgent of synth style pop bands to the nods in modern TV a la "Stranger Things"
This game personifies that love, and if you allow yourself to it will envelop you with its nods to everything 80s and its quirky pick up and play charm.
Anyone that spent their youth in arcades in the 1980s will be familiar with the premise, this is Paperboy, in every way. You play the role of "The VideoKid", who apparently (what can be picked up from reading up on the interwebs, or surmising from the brief introduction )is pirating movies, and must deliver these pirated versions quicker than a market seller ousting dodgy goods, all whilst on his way to his gorgeous "blonde" - because they always are - girlfriend.
In all but style, albeit easier, this is Paperboy - move left or right, fire the videos into the marked postboxes all whilst avoiding the myriad of 80s imagery, that are that prevalent they may as well be slapping you in the face with a wet fish screaming "look at me"
Fortunately, its this 80s nostalgia, that gives the game its charm, and turns what would possibly be considered by many a mediocre game, into a fun, retro filled, pick up and play gem.
I cannot list the number of ways this game applied to my inner geek; from the scan lines on the loading screen circa Commodore 64 era, to the countless nods to famous film, TV and cartoon characters - anything (a bold claim I know) that was famous in the 80s is here....Star Trek, Inspector Gadget, Ghostbusters, ET, Chipmunks, Fraggles, M577 Armored Personnel Carrier (Aliens), V8 Interceptor (Mad Max) and my personal favourite a giant, fill the screen AT-AT walker (Star Wars). Not withstanding, the hundred or so other nods - some of which I am sure I missed.
How the developers have not had a lawsuit filed for copyright infringement (literally scrapes the surface between legal/illegal in my opinion) surprises me. Although, the Fraggle Rock and Chipmunk theme tune being sang at the entrance to each start will haunt my dreams forever...
Was it not for this, the game would fall flat I fear, nothing more than a substandard Paperboy clone, probably coded in a weekend in a dark lit bedroom (perhaps also another nod to the 80s).
The question is with the additional extras, the costumes, serve no purpose other than nostalgia, and although some costumes seem to handle like a sack of spuds being thrown by a child, you will more often than not find yourself using the first costume handed within the game.
The tricks for sale, served absolutely no purpose, for a game that relies on getting from Point A to Point B in the easiest way possible, throwing in a trick system seems counter intuitive, considering you will need your eyesight and reflexes preparing for the next "twitch" movement. The slightest mistake can end your run, even as much as 20 metres from the finale (shamed to say it happened to me on many an occasion)
Pickups can be collected but again serve no purpose, the super jump can hinder more than help, the Pepsi can (in the most awesome nod to 80s nostalgia) is used once and the mega glove - although fun - really adds little than stopping you having to press the button faster than a teenager getting a home run....
The point system, other than achievements, again serves no purpose, albeit to appease the mindset of the "my phallic object is bigger than your phallic object" gamer, and what the hell is with the message delivery system, the equivalent of a 2 year old trying to get your attention whilst watching an important nail biting scene on the TV.
As it is the charm, love, and although blocky, attention to 80s detail, led this to being a quick and enjoyable completion, at which, the 3.99 price mark made it more than worth its money. Graphics
- If Minecraft and Crossy Road had a baby. Blocky yet cutesy in style, and although simplistic each "nod to the 80s" seems to have been crafted with love and attention - all are instantly recognisable none make you think the item has been hit with the ugly stick.Soundtrack
- Full of gun fire, songs, catchphrases and an over use of the sound "whooooosh" as your video tapes are flung, something which sadly takes over at time. Everything sounds as it should like a cassette tape playing your favourite game in the new romantic era!. Special mention to the scary as hell, oh hell no, what is that noise? freak show coming from the Fraggles and the Chipmunks - I NEVER want to here that again (seriously, still suffering the nightmares here)Gameplay
- Six sections, literally crammed with 80s references, four roads and two sewers with a staff holding rodent that can hit you quicker than a ninja! Get to the end, whilst collecting money and delivery tapes.....no skill in this, hammer that button till your wife hates you because her favourite finger on your hand is suffering painful cramps...Achievements
- Easy albeit frustrating. I personally had quite a few hours before I even got to the end, but once I had made it, found the next few playthroughs as easy as being blindfolded. A little grind towards the end, nothing major. Play again?
- Until you cannot stomach the thought of another prancing Optimus Prime or watching a pixelated T800 strolling down the screen. Achievement hunters probably not, but for those that literally lived the 80 (and in some extent still do) hells to the yeah! Score 3.5/5