Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby In 8-Bit Land Review


I'm a fan of Regular Show. I love the way that episodes of the show begin with slackers Mordecai the blue jay and Rigby the raccoon hatching a simple plan to avoid work or to take the easy way out of some task, only to have those plans rapidly spiral out of control into adventures both life-threatening and surreal. Like finding themselves trapped in a video game, for instance. This brings us to Regular Show Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land, a video game about being trapped in a video game (how meta), although I do have to point out that 8-Bit Land looks more like 16-Bit Land or perhaps even 32X Land (a reference you'll understand if you're in the target audience Regular Show is really written for). In spite of the game's premise, the imaginative show on which it is based, and even a writer's credit to series creator J. G. Quintel, the story doesn't go any farther than "Mordecai and Rigby are trapped in a game". Outside of the facts that you play as Mordecai and Rigby in the game and that the enemies are drawn from some of their nemeses from past episodes of the show, this could have been any platform game starring anybody and you wouldn't really know the difference. Well, not just any platform game, any exceedingly difficult platform game.

The game's opening levels consist of 2D side-scrolling platform play not unlike that found in, well, 8-bit games. You can switch between Mordecai and Rigby at will by pressing the X-button, with the difference between them being that Mordecai can double-jump while Rigby can fit through small gaps in walls and crawl along tunnels. As either, you'll face the standard twin dangers of bottomless pits and deadly enemies pacing back and forth on the platforms. In the case of this game, these dangers are even more dangerous because it is quite unforgiving of even the smallest mistake. Misjudge a jump ever so slightly and you'll fall into the void. Jump on an enemy and miss the sweet spot at top center and you're dead. I'm not saying that the game's controls are off or inconsistent, just that the game expects extreme precision out of the player. If you manage to find a mullet (yes, mullet) things get slightly easier as you'll be able to shoot at the enemies from a distance and you'll be able to take one extra hit before dying, but the mullet won't help you if you fall to your doom. Boss battles are wicked tough, forcing you to be just as precise as you need to be on the regular levels while you're under constant attack and trying to figure out how the heck to damage the boss. In short, the game is hard. Some of you will love this, a lot of you won't, you've been warned.

If you want more challenge, each level includes three hidden VHS tapes and a fanny pack to find. I suppose that they're not really hidden as much as they're hard to reach. You'll need to jump and crawl your way through a network of platforms and walls to get to them. Your reward for finding them is your own self-satisfaction and perhaps some unlocked concept art to peruse outside of gameplay. The same thing applies to the timer on each level - try to beat it if you'd like but if it expires there's no penalty. There are also dollar bills to collect in the levels which can be used to play a game of chance between each level, but the prizes are rather limited and include things like more money to spend on nothing or a 1-up, which are pretty much neutered by the seemingly infinite continues.

The game's not all platforming, though. At times it will switch things up and become a side-scrolling space shmup or a top-down shooter. These are limited sequences, though, and you'll have to play through a chunk of the game before you get to them. That's not as long as it probably sounds, though, because taken from the perspective of number of levels and level size the game isn't really that large. Although those hundreds of deaths will certainly make it seem like a bigger game that it really is.

This game's really for those who want a lot of challenge out of a little basic platforming. The Regular Show tie-in probably worked to endear the game to me more than it would have otherwise, but at the same time it was disappointing that a show so rich in imagination and surrealism didn't inspire a more imaginative game.

Final Rating: 68%. Old school platforming action that's not for the challenge-adverse.