Let’s face it, there are just not enough guinea pig games out there. Gerbils and hamsters, they get all the pet store attention. Lemmings, they have stolen the PC Game limelight long enough. It’s time we had a new rodent hero for the common man, and this is where Scott comes in. Scott In Space is a game about a guinea pig, who’s civilization is being hunted and extinguished by evil Rhinoceroses. Scott is a space faring guinea pig, not your garden variety carrot eating sloth pet either. This title is a 2d platformer with controller support. While Steam maybe overcrowded with 2d indie platformers as of late, this is one you shouldn’t dismiss readily.
This game should have an immediate appeal to seasoned platform fans, and even casual players who are new to the genre. The game begins with the titular character crash landing on a world. His ship is damaged in the crash. Scott lets you know that you need to find an engine to fix your ship. Naturally there’s one nearby floating in the breeze.
I found the controls to be responsive and adequate while on the platform missions. Enemies are dispatched by landing on their head. Players are notified of a successful bounce with a cymbal clash that signals the enemies defeat and they pop off your screen. This is where I immediately hit the pause button. It took me a moment to figure out what to do, when confronting an enemy. Did I have powers? Could I fling cedar wood chips at enemies? Is jumping my only function? What are the key mappings? The lack of settings may initially thwart some, but I just closed the menu screen (which only allowed for sound adjustments) and continued on. This is a minor gripe, not a game breaker. Super Mario Brothers has been around for decades, but not all platform games dispatch enemies in similar fashion. An indicator or more setup options is something the developer can tinker with in the future. If not, it does not really change the experience. However when you repair your ship and fly around the level selection screen things are not as smooth. Piloting your ship can be a chore, there is no reverse function. Controller buttons thrust your ship, and you can turn your ship slightly left or right. After spinning around for a bit, with a bit of persistence, you’ll land on the next mission area. I was only able to select that level, with my mouse. A little more controller support could smooth this portion of the game.
The lack of settings usually causes me to push every single button on every single object connected to my PC. Why not? I would hate to have gotten through a game only to discover by that pressing Z I could have summoned a whole fleet of hamster assassins to the assist with difficult areas. Pressing number 5 on my keyboard whisked me away to a strange area. Hitting escape did nothing. I ended up in another area of the game, wondering if I was playing through in the proper sequence of events. I was about to quit the game and restart when I discovered there wasn’t a save game option. Regardless, I quit the game and went back in. I was pleasantly surprised to see a slot save/load menu appear with my last game save there. I had the option to delete the save or play it. I could see other save slots but had no ability to manipulate them.
Which brings up another issue, why am I collecting apples, water drops, and big apples? I discovered that the bigger apples affects health. Replenishing health is the only item function I have discovered. Perhaps in further into the game there is a need for them. It is easy to forget about your collection woes as you platform through the game.
Scott In Space gameplay is simple to grasp and the mission layout is easy to comprehend. You travel to various locations in search of items needed to repair your ship and other quest goals to advance. As you travel around and complete missions you are awarded abilities and power-ups, which are needed to deal with the later stages, such as the double jump ability. This allows you to access previously unattainable areas in stages already visited. The puzzles become trickier and your Rhino antagonists gain new abilities. The difficulty slowly ramps up, matching the pace of your progress. This applies to areas which you previously visited which is a nice touch. Return with the jetpack ability for example, and stage will be populated with flying saucer Rhinos. Running rhinos, saucer rhinos, flying flame ghosts, kung fu squirrels, falling acorns, three-eyed owls, armored rhinos with guided attacks are among the many different enemies to see throughout the game. While at it’s core it is a platformer, with repetitive jumping, the varied enemies keep the game fresh.
Also plenty of humor is scattered throughout the game. Your starting planet is called New New Guinea, that got a smile out of me. Conversations with characters you find throughout the game’s universe will usually interject some form of humor in what they say. Early on, Scott would rather find new friends than rescue his old pals scattered around, that got another smile.
My favorite part of the game is the soundtrack. It’s splendid and unexpected for a new game that falls under the 10 dollar price range. Splendid is a term I rarely use. Following in the tradition of excellent platformers, Scott in Space is filled with vivid, memorable music. The soundtrack pushed me forward into new areas and kept me coming back for more. I was actually finding myself making excuses to revisit areas to achieve full completion, so I could hear the themes for those stages one more time.
Ragiva Games have delivered a pleasent surprise in a genre in the highly competitive platform genre. I recommend anyone looking for a quick bit of fun to pick this game up. Scott in Space was released today, and is available on Steam, and will be offered at a special sale price for its first release week. Casual and platform game fans alike will find plenty to enjoy in this good indie title.