Title: Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher (Developer): D3 Publisher (WayForward)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone 10+” for Cartoon Violence
Cartoon Network has been on a roll lately, providing a number of fairly awesome cartoons that are appropriate for viewers of all ages. Naturally, such success means various tie-ins, which is where WayForward and D3 Publisher come in. The two have already put out one reasonably great game called Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d you steal our garbage?! , which made Adventure Time fans believe in good video game adaptations of an already fantastic series. When it was announced Regular Show would be getting the same treatment from the duo, we hoped for a similar result. Unfortunately, Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land dashed those dreams.
“Video Game Wizards”
Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land begins with Benson telling Mordecai and Rigby they have to get to work. Naturally, that doesn’t happen. Mordecai and Rigby instead notice a strange package on their front stoop, and discover it’s a new video game console. Video games trump work any day, so the two go inside to play. Since it’s a one player game, Mordecai tells Rigby he can play when he’s beaten it a few times and gets bored with it.
Of course, things usually aren’t what they seem in Regular Show, and when Mordecai starts the system, it sends the two to 8-Bit Land. They then must go through 20 levels, fighting some familiar bosses, to protect the park and get home.
“Do we have a protractor?”
Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land has some promising concepts. For example, players can switch between Mordecai and Rigby at any time, with the press of the X button, providing access to their special abilities. WayForward encourages this, even from the very beginning, with level setups that may have players using Mordecai to double jump to get the height needed to reach a platform, then quickly switching to Rigby to enter the small space, and perhaps switching back to Mordecai to continue an upward ascension. It even pays tribute to old school shoot’em ups and top-down shooters, by allowing Mordecai to transform into a space ship in Ship Mode and Rigby to go commando in Top Down Mode. It even looks absolutely perfect, with 2D sprites that are perfect likenesses of major Regular Show characters, for the few cameos that do come up.
The problem is, the game fails in execution. It has all these good ideas, but it doesn’t work out right. I attribute much of the problem to the enemies’ hitboxes in Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land. In many cases, they seem absurdly small. I first noticed this with the snails in the first world. They’re fairly large and basic enemies for the initial batch of levels, but if Mordecai or Rigby didn’t jump exactly in the center of their shells, it’d count as a hit against them. Since this is a one-hit-and-you-die kind of game, it was quite frustrating. Naturally, it got worse. In the second world, there are small, floating orbs that shoot lasers. Even if they weren’t preparing to shoot, landing a touch too close to the front or back of the orb would knock my bluejay or raccoon out.
Frankly, it felt unfair. It was as though WayForward was artificially increasing the difficulty by making standard mooks harder to kill and penalizing players for attempting to take action against them. The controls aren’t precise enough to risk jumping, which meant in most levels, I was running towards the Mullet, then backtracking to grab missed money, gold VHS tapes, extra lives, fanny packs for extra continues. The Mullet grants Mordecai and Rigby the power to use Death-Kwon-Do. Basically, that means they each gain a ranged attack and can take one hit, which makes them lose Mullet power, before dying. Except, when a Mullet is picked up, Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land immediately becomes too easy. So long as Mordecai can send out ethereal punches and Rigby has a vicious pen laser, they’re unstoppable.
Even the bosses can get ridiculously easy. Since I want to avoid spoilers, I’ll use The Destroyer of Worlds, the first world’s boss, as an example. I lost about four lives in a row to him and his fire breathing attacks, before I realized I only had to dodge his fire attacks once. After it made a platform, I made Mordecai jump up to it, and double jump onto The Destroyer of Worlds’ head. With some careful balancing, I was able to go through the entire boss fight, bouncing off of his head, and beat him in what felt like less than a minute.
It’s like, once you know how to beat the system in Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land, it’s impossible to lose. You can even find all three golden VHS in each level, which unlock bonuses like concept art, without much trouble. I managed to get through all 20 levels in under five hours, and even though I could have gone back and played a more difficult New Game+ version of the game, with Game Djinn cheat codes, I didn’t see any point.
Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land doesn’t have the charm of WayForward’s most recent Cartoon Network effort, Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!. Unlike the earlier game, there is no voice acting at all, the music doesn’t really sound like anything you’d hear in Regular Show, and there isn’t a script to provide nostalgic moments. Instead, you get a straight-forward platformer that ranges from too hard, to too easy, too quickly. It isn’t a bad game, and the character art and gameplay ideas have potential, but it comes across more as a bargain-bin tie-in to a popular series than the groundbreaking homage Regular Show likely hoped it would be.
Site [D3 Publisher]