Scary Girl is a platformer for those who have a Tim Burton itch that needs scratching
Tim Burton is an auteur in the truest sense of the word. Despite what you think of his films, you can’t deny that the man has an unmistakable style for everything he does. If you took a cursory glance at Nathan Jurevicius’ Scary Girl comic you’d half expect for Burton’s name to be attached to it, but alas, it’s not. The colorful, gothic world filled with things that go bump in the night might take some inspiration from the cinematic imagination of the same man who brought us Edward Scissorhands, but it is an independently fascinating world all on its own. After starting life as a browswer-based Flash game, Scary Girl made the leap to consoles earlier this year, and has recently landed on PC in all its platforming strangeness.
You’ll take on the title role of Scary Girl who, after being adopted by a gigantic and intelligent octopus, is now having her dreams haunted by an unknown entity. With the help and guidance of Bunninguru, the giant kung-fu rabbit, you’ll set out in the world to find out who or what has been invading your dreams. The story is laid out nicely at the start, with fantastic art and a pitch-perfect narration track bringing the words to life in a way that perfectly suits the world.
Scary Girl is a 2D style platformer with 3D-rendered objects. The plains will play lightly with the “Z” dimension, forking into two paths towards or away from the camera, adding some nice depth and playable options to the maps. You can hover her mid jump to drift over larger gaps or groups of enemies. She’ll start out with a simple whip-style weapon with light and heavy attacks, with more weapons and abilities available for purchase with the gems you’ll collect through the levels.
Despite the fantastic storytelling and setting, Scary Girl never really takes off as a platformer. There’s nothing surprising waiting for fans of the genre who might even be turned off by some of the feel of the controls. Scary Girl has a grapple ability that is cumbersome to learn, but essential to execute well throughout the game. Enemies have strange hit locators that never really stay consistent, but don’t pose too much of a challenge despite that. The challenge is further removed when playing in the well-executed local co-op.
It’s hard to not recommend Scary Girl because the story and presentation are so completely solid, so this game will split up people who are already fans of the Scary Girl brand and those who show up because it’s a platformer. It’s a beautiful game to look at, with colorful worlds and interesting characters, but it’s a somewhat run-of-the-mill platformer with controls that could use some tweaking. To me, the game itself was competent enough to keep me wanting to see more of the story as the game moved along. To others the game’s faults might be enough to…*ahem*…scare them off.