Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game

8.0 Overall Score

Written by on August 23, 2010 in

For better or worse, Scott Pilgrim is in love with Ramona Flowers. Unfortunately for Scott, Ramona has baggage. It’s not just the emotionally scarred baggage of past relationships, it’s that:

  1. Ramona has seven exes
  2. Said exes are all evil
  3. Scott must defeat each one of them before Ramona can be completely his

The bolded words are as bad as they sound… for Scott that is.  For us gamers however, his challenges become our hours of fun.  Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game seamlessly combines old school flare with new school sensibilities to create a memorable experience that dodges the pitfalls that many movie tie-in games fall victim to.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game takes us through the titular protagonist’s quest in all its sprite-based retro glory.  The format is a side-scrolling beat-’em-up that hearkens back to the NES days. In fact, developer Ubisoft Montreal relies heavily on 8-bit nostalgia for much of the game’s charm.  I would even go so far as to say that they proudly wear their old school references on their collective sleeve.

The look of the game features pixelated sprites and a basic color palette that conjures up memories of hours wasted playing consoles from 2 or more generations ago.  From the intentionally static logo screens to the Mario Bros. 2 character selection screen and anime inspired boss introduction sequences, I was in lesbians with the visuals from the get go.  Even the music has that midi twang.  With Anamanaguchi supplying the addictive tunes, the audio never gets tiresome.

The core gameplay pays just as much loving homage to any side-scrolling beat-’em-up like Double Dragon, Bad Dudes or Final Fight. Actions consist of standard, heavy and special attacks as well as the requisite jump button.  Enemies are a varied assortment of thugs, ninjas, robots and even paparazzi.  By the time I faced off against a boss character, it became clearer that Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game is better enjoyed with friends.  Although the game does not support online co-op or drop in/drop out co-op, it does allow for 4 player local play.  This makes it easier when pitted against an end-level boss that can have incredible, and arguably cheap, attacks.

Another throwback to the arcade brawlers are the elusive codes, which in this age of the interwebs, is not so elusive.  Codes entered at the title screen open up extras like enabling blood or unlocking additional modes of play like the Survival Horror mode, pitting the player against an unending wave of the undead.

As a solo experience, the game does offer some ways to make it through the game without much help.  In a more modern twist, defeating enemies allow the player to level up their character.  At times, I found myself grinding through early levels just to level up, buffing up stats and unlocking additional attacks.  With a nod and wink to the classic River City Ransom, the player can walk into stores and purchase health replenishing food and character stat upgrades.

Just as the movie is to the comic book origins, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game somehow steers clear of being a rip-off and successfully creates a loving tribute to 8-bit brawler nostalgia.  Aesthetically, it mixes retro sprites with a current gen level of detail.  Even though the game lacks online play, it combines old school beat-em’-up mechanics with new-ish RPG elements.  The overall package is more than a commercial tie-in to the movie and comic.  Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game is a solid game in its own right that I can easily recommend to anyone.

For better or for worse, Scott Pilgrim has got it bad for Ramona Flowers.  As long as his angst results in a great game, emotional baggage doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.

A download code was provided to TMG for the purpose of evaluation and review.

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Author: John Catuira View all posts by

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