XBLA Review: Raskulls

You little raskulls…

Raskulls is one addictive, yet simple game. It’s essentially a puzzle platformer but it also makes you race to the exit before your rivals do. Blocks will get in your way that you destroy with your zap or items you get that are scattered across the stages. There’s also a story mode which is hilarious in a Paper Mario-esque kind of way, full of funny dialogue and clichés.

You’ll play as different Raskulls through the main quest like the dragon, ninja and so on. You progress one level at a time through an overworld map like in Mario games and each level will get you a medallion. Achievement hunters will need to collect every last one, which will be tough as not only do you have to beat your rivals in races, but also challenges like reaching the end of a stage in a limited time or to not run out of a certain item before reaching the end.

It can be pretty tricky, especially some of the later levels that will pit a number of enemies trying to hold you back from the goal so your rival can get there first. If there’s one problem with the game, it’s that after a while it all becomes routine and predictable. You have to knock out certain blocks to progress so they don’t come tumbling down on you and some will only vanish if they match each other, so it takes some getting used to.

There’s also competitive multiplayer, which is fun for a while…although most will stick to the main quest for the laughs of the story and attempting to get every last medallion. I won’t spoil the plot, although it is ridiculous…in a good way.

Visually, Raskulls is a nice looking game. It maybe 2D, but it’s fluid and vibrant, the levels are well thought out and the Raskulls themselves are charming. Voice-acting is non-existent and instead reduced to a bunch of noises like in Paper Mario, but the music is catchy and feels just right for the game.

The Verdict

Raskulls is an enjoyable, charming game that shows there’s still a lot of life left in XBLA titles. It will test your patience and skills, but it also has a great sense of humour that you won’t find on any other XBLA game. This is definitely worth the price of admission and with any luck, we’ll see a sequel someday…