Level Up: BattleBlock Theater

By Samual Cale on February 05, 2017 from Level Up via Connect-Bridgeport.com

What makes a game good? Some will insist that to be good a game has to have amazing graphics with realistic stories and gameplay. I say that while these things are nice, they are not necessarily required. Proof of this can be found in BattleBlock Theater, which was made by a developer called The Behemoth in 2013.
 
The story of BattleBlock Theater is a strange one yet thrilling nonetheless. You and your friends are all sailing the seas looking for adventure. There are hundreds of friends on this ship, the greatest of which being Hatty Hattington, who was everyone’s best friend. Misfortune strikes and a massive storm appears out of nowhere, causing a shipwreck on a mysterious island. When you awaken, you go to investigate the structure to find your friends, and what you find is not pleasant. The structure is an old theater inhabited by giant cats, many of which are larger than people and walk on two legs. They have taken all your friends and you prisoner and are now making you perform in a deadly arena for their entertainment. But where is Hatty? He is sitting in a chair wearing a hat with a spooky red glow and is directing the cats in their endeavors to make your life miserable. It’s all up to you to give the cats such a great performance that you can escape.
 
This game can be extremely frustrating but is still a great time to play. The objective is to run, jump, climb, and fight your way through each level, solving puzzles to collect gems in a two-dimensional platformer setting. You need at least three gems to open the exit to a level, but there are usually way more than that, numbering up to seven at the most. There is also yarn, which can be used to buy new tools from the guards. In addition to opening each level’s exit, gems are used to buy new characters. There are five different head types available: square, round, triangular, oval, and special. The first four can be purchased with gems, but special heads must be found by completing player-made levels. The levels themselves contain all kinds of traps, including water, lasers, spikes, and enemies.
 
As I mentioned above, players are able to make their own levels in the level editor and can share them online for others to play. This game does support co-op. In a regular session, you can have two players in a session. However, it is really co-optional as you don’t necessarily have to play nice. Four player multiplayer is also available for competitive game modes such as capture the flag. Some levels are more difficult than others and can sometimes be very frustrating when you’re trying to get all the gems and the yarn while on a timer. The timer will only appear in the finale levels and complicates things severely.
 
The graphics are rather crude and cartoonish, but they tell the story well while making it hilariously goofy. Ethically speaking, you can do things to cartoon characters that would not be alright if you did it to a real person. The music in Battleblock Theater is strange, but good in a way. It’s extremely catchy and a tune is stuck in my head as I write this. One of the things that make this game great are the cut scenes. They are in a style not unlike a puppet show, and the narrator, voiced by Will Stamper, says some things that leave you rolling with laughter, which is made better by the imagery shown on screen.
 
Considering all this, I give BattleBlock Theater a 10/10. Despite being frustrating at times, it is undeniably good. It’s a hilarious two-dimensional platformer with an enthralling story that makes you push yourself to reach the next cut scene. It has a simple co-op and multiplayer system that keeps the games focus mostly on the story instead of the multiplayer, which is something rather rare in mainstream games these days. The ending brings questions rather than answers however, and leaves you wondering when the full release of The Behemoth’s next game, Pit People, will be. Overall, BattleBlock Theater is a commonly overlooked game of great quality.



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