Buckle your pants and contain your peeslosh, children, it's time for BATTLEBLOCK THEATER!
Hatty Hattington and his shipful of best friends are sailing around, making merry, when calamity strikes! A massive storm leaves them shipwrecked on a mysterious island, at the foot of a mysterious abandoned, old theater.
But it's not abandoned.
It's filled with cats! Loads of cats. Sinister cats who imprison you and all your friends, and then force them to run increasingly deadly acrobatic obstacle courses for their entertainment. All the while, Hatty Hattington watches on from the vault behind the gift shop. Boy, he's not moving much. But I'm sure he's fine! You'd better go rescue him, though! He doesn't look like he's taking this predicament very well.
In the main story mode, there are 8 chapters, each with 9 normal stages, a 2-part finale, and 3 encore stages. In the normal stages, you must find at least three green gems and reach the exit in time. Each one you complete unlocks the next one, and the final one unlocks the finale. In the finale, you're racing against the clock. You still need three gems in the first part, though I'm not positive about the second. May as well collect them, just to be sure! You have to do these two stages back-to-back, you can't select one individually. Which is a little annoying when you've only missed the A++ grade on one of them, and aren't positive you even got it until after you've finished both and checked. The encores are all unlocked at the same time after the finale is completed. These are basically timed, more challenging normal stages, and are completely optional. But, you know. Do 'em.
At heart, BattleBlock is a solid platformer. Beyond solid. The level design in this is pretty rather darn expert-tier, and there's enough variety to it that you won't get bored before the end. I mean, you've got your typical platformer fare. Ice floors and spikes and water you can't touch for... some reason. But then you have weird rideable squarish pig things, cats that breathe in really hard to pull you towards the hazards near them, these magmatic blocks that launch you off when you so much as lightly brush them, and some sort of... duck... shark... Yoshi's Island-lookin' guys that help you onto ledges and also poop you at things!
It's also got the one thing that no other platformer that I've ever played has, and that's Stamper
! I don't know if I can adequately describe this to you, but where the exceptional gameplay and endearing visual style make this a great game, Stamper's narration then makes it phenomenal. Every silly line is spouted in the perfect way to get the most comedic mileage out of it. I mean, the lines are already pretty amusingly written, but man, that voice, that energy... of all the best friends in this game, the narrator may as well be your bestest friend of all! He's right there with you, every step of the way. Advancing the plot, chatting with you as you play, commenting on and reacting to the situations at hand. We're talking Bastion levels of unforgettable narration, right here.
So, what else.
There are plenty of other modes besides just rolling through the basic story mode by yourself. There's also an insane mode which forces you to start the entire level if you die even once! Did I mention there's an achievement in it, for you? There's also a co-op story. That also has an insane mode, in case there's anybody left in your life that you don't completely hate, yet (Stamper notwithstanding)! There's also an arena, which has eight different gametypes, including a fun sort of basketball game, a race to finish a level first, one where you have to rub up on all the tiles to change them to your team's color (my personal favorite), and of course just plain ol' beating the crap out of each other!
You can, of course, play community-built stages, as well, in single player, co-op, AND arena varieties. These don't get you gems (the currency for unlocking new prisoners) or yarn (the currency for unlocking new weapons) unless they're featured, but they'll help ease the shakes you'll get when you're jonesing for a BattleBlock fix.
Also, got a few bombs of knowledge I should drop, here. First, there's a new Furbottom's Feature every Friday. Every other week, it's a new arena playlist. On the non-arena weeks, it alternates between a set of single player levels, and a set of co-op levels. You can be notified whenever there's a new feature by subscribing to this BattleBlock Steam community subforum
. Also, every so often special prisoner heads are released for a limited time, and can be collected either by simply booting the game, or by completing a current feature. I check in on this guide this guide
every so often to see if there's one up. If you don't care about prisoner heads and just want to have fun, ignore all this garbage and go about your life, unburned by the hellish draw of completionism!
BattleBlock's difficulty is fair, and has a good learning curve. The music is all pretty groovy and gives you something easily worth listening to as you step on that obvious trap and die like an idiot.
I mean succeed wildly and without error.
Alright, I hope that's everything because I've got stuff to do. So, uh, buy BattleBlock Theater! Enjoy it! It will enjoy you back!