Monday, September 10, 2018

The VideoKid Review (XONE)

The actual gameplay of The VideoKid hardly matters - it's a modern-ish take on PaperBoy, by the way - because the real star of the show, and why you should play it, is that it is a loving homage to everything 1980's. Seriously, it's crammed full of enough nerdy pop culture references that even "Ready Player One" probably thinks The VideoKid maybe went too far. For 80's kids, though, it is a fun nostalgic trip down memory lane that is well worth the $5 investment. The game underneath is surprisingly solid, too. See our full review of The VideoKid for more.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games
  • Developer: Pixel Trip Studios
  • ESRB Rating: "E10" for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Arcade
  • Pros: Tons of 80's references; addictive gameplay; price
  • Cons: Can get frustrating
  • MSRP: $5

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In The VideoKid you play as an 80's kid who has to return a VHS rental before meeting his girlfriend. And by "return" we really mean "throw thousands of video tapes through every window in the neighborhood". The game is only one level long but, in classic 80's arcade game fashion, it is fiendishly difficult so you might not (probably not, actually) beat it on your first or fifth or even tenth try. When you do finally beat it the whole game is only around 5-minutes long, but it is wonderfully addictive and will keep you coming back to try for high scores or just to see if you can spot more 80's references. I know it sounds short, but for the $5 asking price I think it is more than fair.

The gameplay is pretty much just like PaperBoy except, you know, good. Your skateboarding kid can switch between three lanes - one on the sidewalk and two lanes in the street - as well as jump. You can throw VHS tapes with the "A" button and jump off of obstacles and cars to do tricks and earn points and there is money scattered around to collect as well. The idea is to avoid running into stuff while scoring as many points and collecting as much cash as possible. You can spend the cash to unlock new tricks or new outfits for the kid. The game controls well and never feels particularly unfair, but there is definitely some frustration that can set in when you come across a new obstacle you don't know how to pass the first time around or try to doge an obstacle a millisecond too late (or early) and have to start the whole game over again. Like I said, though, for $5 it is more than fine.

Everyone is really playing The VideoKid for the 80's references anyway, and it more than delivers in that area. Popular movies, after school cartoons, and just about any other piece of memorable pop culture you can remember is crammed in here. DuckTales, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Inspector Gadget, Ghostbusters, Spy Hunter, Akira, Fraggle Rock, Pee Wee, Pac-Man, Tron, and many, many, many more references will pop up in the street and on the sidelines while you play the game. 80's kids are in for a treat.

The game looks and sounds pretty great, too. It uses the same 3/4 perspective as PaperBoy but the graphics are chunky 3D voxel-style, which makes the game 3D but keeps the classic sprite look. It's chunky and pixelly, but clean and all of wonderful references are easy to recognize even with relativley simple visuals. The music is also excellent and is full of 80's synth and unmistakeable arcade bleeps and bloops. I love it.

All in all, The VideoKid is a solid romp through 80's nostalgia that worth a look. It is very short and simple, though, and it does lean a little too hard into relying on just the references to hold your attention, but for $5 I think it gets the job done. It has fairly easy achievements, too, if you're into that sort of thing. Younger players probably won't be impressed with the gameplay or understand many of the references, but 80's kids will have a blast with The VideoKid. Buy it.