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BattleBlock Theater Review

…Run for your life whilst being watched by an audience of twisted-evil cats…

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The Behemoth has released another quirky personality busting Arcade game on the marketplace this week with their latest title BattleBlock Theater; down as possibly one of the strangest puzzle-platformers known to cats – man – it’s an oddity that takes centre stage in a theatre full of the dangerous furry kind. “Goodness Gracious!”

BattleBlock Theater is a prison operated by technologically advanced cat’s and you take on the role as a prisoner stranded on some abandoned island where you are forced into the cat’s dangerous grounds. There only seems to be one means of escape, but first you must partake in a theatrical performance of a lifetime – or just die! Each level is depicted as ‘Scene’s with a full blown audience viewing your every move as you perform stunts, collect gems, and survive the all-out battle obstacles of every chapter. The logic is as irrelevant as to how an island full of evil cats has managed to imprison a whole host of prisoners for their own entertainment – none of it makes any sense, but the bright, colourful design of the set pieces will blow you away. This is one of the best looking puzzle games on the marketplace and your fight for survival will be every bit as enjoyable as the hilarious dialogue that livens up every cut-scene. Oh what a game this is… addictive, witty, entertaining and at times a test of your patience!

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Every scene has a simple objective of where you must collect a minimum of three emerald looking gems to unlock the exit portal, but you will score a higher rank the more gems you collect. If you are opting to go for the most gems which will in-turn allow you to exchange them for the release of prisoners held on the island then you should fear the death-defying puzzling scenarios that you will shortly face. Many gems are placed in the hardest of places to reach where you need to think about your approach, you could drown, get electrocuted, assaulted by the enemy cats or find yourself stuck to a bunch of spikes. Level objects such as moving platforms, water, items that can be pushed and pulled will all stand in your way as you jump through the maze-like environment to achieve all that you can be using what logic you have left after the bemused intro’s will leave you perplexed.

When you do eventually reach the exit points with all those gems you’ve nicely collected, this will grant you the ability to release prisoners from the in-game Gift Shop. All the unlockable prisoners double up as playable characters that you can select from the games’ customisation options. A variety of heads, facial features and weapons can be chosen from all that you’ve unlocked on your journey, but despite no character having any kind of enhancement to your abilities as it is a visual representation of your playable prisoner –the weapons however do have a mild improvement at rare points in the scenes. All those evil cats you will face throughout parts of the environment as they will aim to halt your collection gems will have weapons of their own, from a distance you can use boomerangs, grenades, ice blocks, and a range of explosives to take them down before they come and get you!

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BattleBlock Theater can be enjoyed co-operatively with another gamer in the games main adventure mode or you can take it online further in many of the available multiplayer Arena games. Within the adventure as a co-op gem collecting duo you will face many different alternate scenarios that require a team effort to overcome the obstacles unlike in Solo which solely depends on persistency alone. Switches, even more challenging platforms to overcome and using your prison pal’s shoulders will aid your survival quest, but in all-honesty you will definitely find yourself distracted from the Adventure to spend many hours in the Arena games. The Arena features different game modes for up to four players team-based of free-for-all that include:

  • Soul Snatcher:  Capture the enemy’s souls to gain points and kill the soul-carrier’s to release their souls back into the level.
  • Muckle:  Beat and kill the enemy team to earn your team points.
  • Challenge:  Score the best time on a level.
  • King Of The Hill:  Stand on the crown blocks to gain team points.
  • Color The World:  Color more blocks than the other team.
  • Grab The Gold:  Grab more gold from the golden whale than the other team and deposit it in the floating safe to score points for your team
  • Ball Game:  Get the ball in the basket.
  • Capture the Horse:  Ride the opposing team’s horse to your stables to gain points for your team.

To add yet even more longevity, the game features a Community Theater showcasing some user-generated playlists into the mix. One of the genius features of this mind-fuck of a game is the ability to create your own puzzle worlds in the Level Editor and show your efforts to the online community. It’s an easy to use interface that could best be described as a 2D forge world only with a more simple selection, then drag and drop process using the controller buttons. During the creation process for your puzzling masterpiece scene it’s ideally appropriate to think of the Level Editor as your very own stage and all you need to do is make it as dangerous as humanly possible with a variety of obstacles that harm the playable prisoner as it tries to find an exit point.

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With varied difficulty levels and a challenging, but immensely fun platforming approach to the many testing scenes – the whole game can only be described as a masterpiece. Equally as fun to play both solo or co-operatively with a bubbly range of online modes to keep you hooked for hours and hours. If you are feeling a little creative you can basically design your own take on the game with the Level Editor, download community levels too and there’s absolutely no good reason to put this down unless it is for the need to sleep!

BattleBlock Theater is an eccentric take on platforming with maze-like-puzzle scenes that will blow your mind. It’s surprisingly addictive and ranks high on entertainment value that is complemented with user-generated music from Newgrounds, the community of artists, programmers, musicians, voice actors and writers who create things to be enjoyed online. All in all it’s a decent game that you will just want to throw all your money at. Let Behemoth rob you blind of 1200 MS Points and experience the imagination and creativity of this artful catty tour de force.

Review Score

Pegi Rating

Posted By: - Can be followed on Xbox LIVE as "Jason of Duty"

Founder of ThisisXbox.com - I will be making 2015 my last year with ThisisXbox and the site will continue and grow without me. Marking 10 years of dedication to Xbox News only, I will be leaving to pursue a non-gaming interest with indsy.com from 2016
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