Short reviews from Joe for the average Joe gamer.
You would be excused for thinking Battletoads (Xbox) is just a beat-em-up with some classic Battletoads speeder bike racing sections thrown in. Truth is, if I didn’t play through the game co-op with my kids, that’s what I would have thought too.
The game starts with a really funny premise, told through animated cutscenes that wouldn’t be out of place on a Saturday morning cartoon show. The first few levels of side-scrolling beat-em-up action is pretty much what you’d expect. You (and up to two co-op buddies) wail on all manner of weird enemies, with some crazy special attack animations and lots of quips from the toads. Surprisingly though, these stages contain the occasional mini-game, which is a sign of things to come.
My kids and I got through the first speeder bike level, with frustration kept in check thanks to easy difficulty selected and a very noob-friendly invincibility mode that you can kick in after dying a few times in a row. We stopped playing for the day and here was the point that I felt I was done with the game, even as someone who loved the original back in the day.
Come around to the next weekend though and my youngest wanted to see what happens next to the Battletoads. We booted the game back up and what came next was completely unexpected. Mini-games galore, 2D-side scrolling and vertical tower sections, Galaxian style space combat stages and, the one that got the most laughs, Toadshambo (scissors, paper, rock). All this with more of the cool animated cutscenes between levels.
Battletoads is greater than the sum of its parts and made all the better for being young-kid friendly (despite being a sequel to one of the most difficult games of all time). There is no chance I would have seen through the story of Rash, Zitz, Pimple and the Dark Queen on my own. While hit and miss, there was quite a lot to enjoy, particularly as an all too rare couch co-op game and something that even the littlest of gamers out there can play and contribute to.
Obviously, I got more milage out of this game playing it with my kids (all under 10), with proud dad moments like my daughter getting the final blow on a challenging boss and my son being the one who crossed the line on the last speeder bike stage. Battletoads is Gaming with the kids approved! For everyone else, if you find you don’t usually finish beat ‘em ups due to the repetitive nature of the genre, the way Battletoads mixes things up might make this something you’ll enjoy and play all the way through.
Quick Video Game Reviews (QVGR)
The idea of QVGR is to give gamers out there who don’t have time to read review epics and those of you who usually skip down to the review score on websites a quick article to read that gives a bit more info than scanning subheadings and deciding on a game just based on a score.
What do you think of the game? Pop in your thoughts in the comment box below. In the spirit of QVGR, try and keep your comments brief. The reason people are here is that they have busy lives!
If you like this, you might also like our VERSUS PLAYER podcast. Like these articles, we usually try to keep our weekly episodes short and we chat about what games we are playing, gaming news, movies, pop culture, life and everything in-between. Give us a listen here or on a whole bunch of podcast services, including iTunes.