Game Review: The Adventures of Shuggy
Release: June 15, 2011
Genre: Action & Adventure, 2D Platformer
Developer: Smudged Cat Games / Valcon Games
Available Platforms: Xbox 360 via XBLM
Players: 1-2 (Offline and Online)
MSRP: 800 MS Points ($10)
ESRB Rating: 12+
Shuggy has just inherited a mansion where many things just don’t seem right. It is haunted by a wide array of creatures and cluttered with traps and hazards that lie in wait for Shuggy as he explores his new home. This on-going narrative is presented through comic book style cut-scenes that play as introductions to each area of the mansion.
With roots grounded in classic 2D gaming, The Adventures of Shuggy encapsulates a huge variety of platform puzzling. There are several areas (Dungeon, Boiler, Clocktower, Gallery, and Graveyard) that serve as level selection menus that contain doors to over 100 rooms. As each room is completed, additional doors are unlocked, and once all the levels in an area are completed, the door to a new area is unlocked. This progression is how Shuggy explores the mansion and how the player is exposed to new gaming mechanics gradually.
Where Shuggy really shines is in the level design. Each and every level brings something new to the game, be it sideways gravity, moving platforms, rope for repelling, switches, gears… the variety is immense and brilliantly distributed throughout the game. The design of each level is expertly tailored to be challenging but not frustrating, which is a difficult balancing act to pull off. Some of the levels are pure evil and involve ghosts of yourself following you 45 seconds behind, and if you run into yourself, you start over. Once you have five or six copies of yourself running around a maze, it takes some pre-planning and a good memory to make it back through the maze to the beginning while avoiding all the other Shuggies.