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Raskulls

Every ounce of my being wants to love Raskulls. I even thought I did for a while. Raskulls bombards you with charm from start to finish, but it just isn’t adorable enough to take away from its flaws. Despite how whimsical the game is, Raskulls is a short, shallow game that doesn’t provide enough content to players that will inevitably crave more.

Raskulls offers a fusion of racing and platforming, a fusion that anyone who has played Mr. Driller will know intimately. In the single-player portion, you assume the role of three absolutely adorable Raskulls – skeletons in costumes – in their effort to defend their kingdom from invading Pirats (pirate rats). You’ll travel through three worlds and in each one, you’ll play Mr. Driller to keep the Pirats from stealing shiny stones.

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Your character, armed with a short-range blaster, has to blast through stone barriers faster than three equally-adorable opponents in order to win. Levels move both vertically and horizontally, so some interesting platforming occasionally crops up as you’re moving frantically upward and dodging blocks as they’re falling onto your face. Sadly, it’s rarely interesting. There’s very little to think about and most of the time, I thoughtlessly mashed on the shoot button and pointed in the desired direction. With this strategy, victory is almost always assured.

Raskulls’ campaign is far too easy, sucking a lot of the pleasure out of the experience. There are even some levels that don’t have any win parameters – just as long as you eventually get to the end, you’ll get a medal. This isn’t the kind of game that’s easy to beat but difficult to master. This game is easy to beat and easy to master in just a few hours. If you ever do get stuck, most levels can be conquered with just a few retries. And it doesn’t get more challenging as you progress, either.

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Raskulls is saved by a fun multiplayer mode. Racing against your friends is a huge improvement over AI nemeses, and your girlfriend will definitely get a huge kick out of how freakin’ cute the characters are. The inclusion of characters from ilomilo and A World of Keflings (provided you own them) is a nice touch as well. The problem is, there are no levels that you want to go back to, reducing the longevity of the title. Level selection simply boils down to which you haven’t played yet.

It’s such a shame that Raskulls is brought down by weak level design. I’m positive that the game will be supported by DLC, so maybe we’ll see some more interesting levels later on. But there’s just something missing – there’s just not enough meat on these bones to keep players interested or challenged. Raskulls provides a very brief, very adorable adventure that could have been a lot better with more creative level design. As it stands, hold off on a purchase until more stages are released.

6 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

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