I would like to think of myself as a hardcore gamer, but more importantly an open-minded gamer. I don’t stick to one genre and turn my back to others without giving them a chance. You would be surprised on how many great titles you could have played if you pass a game just based on the genre. The Adventures of Shuggy may not appeal to most hardcore gamers, but this simple platformer is great for just about anyone, a fun puzzle-filled adventure that is an outstanding play from kids to adults.
You play as Shuggy, a vampire-looking fellow who just inherited a mansion. Shuggy, not being the brightest character around, is following the instructions on the will received from the death of his grandfather. Problems occur from the start when our vampire hero finally reads the fine print that reveals the mansion is in fact haunted with goblins and ghosts. Do you think that was going to stop our bloodthirsty friend? Me neither. Shuggy busts through the front door to see what he can do to claim this mansion.
The Adventures of Shuggy acts as a simple platformer with, at times, not-so-simple objectives. The control scheme is easy enough to handle, with players only having to keep in mind movement, the jump button and an action trigger. Players go through the mansion’s rooms, halls and sections to collect gems in order to fix hardware around the mansion (such as starters for the boiler) and to get rid of the unwanted guests. In order to move on, you must solve puzzles and avoid spiders, ghosts, goblins and other nasty creatures to unlock all five sections of the mansion — Dungeon, Boiler Room, Gallery, Graveyard and Clocktower — each of which has about 25 puzzle-filled rooms.
Each of those 100 rooms has a set of gems, all of which must be collected while solving each room’s unique puzzle. Certain puzzles will have you using the action trigger, for example, to turn the room left and right or to cause time to speed up so Shuggy can avoid obstacles such as spikes. You can also choose to play with a friend in Co-Op Mode, which lets a secondary player take control of Shuggy’s relative and help gain gems, or go head-to-head in competition for the highest score.
Each room has a fun and addictive puzzle that generally won’t take you long to complete. However, some rooms give you a challenge that will almost make you lose your mind entirely, perhaps even shed a tear or two. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but you will face quite a challenge that won’t take much longer then a few minutes, yet somehow those few minutes feel like hours. Without a checkpoint in any level, any mishaps during the longer challenges will result in you restarting the whole level over again, which can be a pain. The only other annoyance is the actual speed of the character you take control of. Shuggy really glides, so if you’re trying to jump onto a ledge or beam from a distance, expect a fast glide. I can’t tell you how many times I fell into spikes or pools of lava by gliding right off the edge to my death.
But overall the gameplay is great, and if you’re looking for a casual platformer with puzzles, you can’t go wrong with The Adventures of Shuggy. The game offers more than 100 puzzles, which will last you several hours and provide some fun and addictive play, and it’s also a great game to play with friends and family. A couple levels are a little repetitive, but the game generally does a great job tossing-in new puzzle mechanics and keeping things fresh. I would highly recommend this XBLA title with a great price 800 Microsoft points and the first XBLA title developed by Smudge Cat Games.
Score: 8 — Frustrating at times but on the whole a great game for individual or multiple players. It’s definitely worth the low price of 800 Microsoft Points.
Platform reviewed: Xbox 360