Creepy Road is one of those games that just brings back old memories of mindless run and gun classics involving nothing but reflex, skill and a ton of explosions. Contra, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe – those are probably the titles that spring to most people’s minds instantaneously.
For me though, the flashbacks actually come from Blip & Blop: Balls of Steel – a weird early 2000s PC game that involved Smurfs, Care Bears, Pikachus and plenty of means of destruction. (Don’t judge me, I was just a clueless high-school kid looking for some mindless gory game to sneakily play during computer science class, even if that involved aiming at a bunch of copyright infringing personas.)
Thinking back, I realize how ridiculous and silly that game was. However, I also remember how damn fun it was to play. In a way, this is what I hope Creepy Road manages to achieve – mindless fun with lots of impressive looking damage pop-ups and nasty enemies coming out of every corner of the screen. Looking at the game’s Kickstarter pitch that’s precisely what it’s trying to recreate, not really having any fancy tricks up its sleeve apart from a few interesting power-ups and the potential of amazing boss fights. Really, it doesn’t have to to anything different.
So, I got the chance to play through the current public build of the game. It took about 5 minutes to finish the two levels that were included, those mostly involving jumping past cars and other random obstacles while spamming the fire button like a madman. I must admit that enemies are incredibly varied and wacky, with a nice selection of nasty baddies to shoot at ranging from annoying killer bunnies to unicycle-riding suicide bears and deadly fish-wielding birds. Mixed with the gorgeously crisp and colourful visuals, I can certainly see a lot of potential for visual carnage of epic proportions.
In the same time though, there are definitely some major issues that need to be addressed, most of those having to do with Creepy Road’s combat and movement. To start off, you can only shoot in four directions; while this might be a deliberate design choice (although I highly doubt it), having a regular 8-direction aiming system would arguably be far better for Creepy Road’s flat-plane based boundaries and the amount of enemies appearing above the main character. As of right now, shooting and aiming simply feels like a chore more than anything else, with weapon ranges being ridiculously short which results in somewhat clunky and weird to manage gun-play – and this is me talking strictly in terms of the game’s basic design while also acknowledging that we are looking at a somewhat early build.
The other issue I have involves the game’s jumping, more specifically the fact that it feels way too slow and unresponsive. I think the term “floaty” describes the feeling best, as vague as the word may be in some cases. In other words, what I would like is less hanging time mid-air and more direct control, this being one of the most important aspects to nail-down when it comes to run and gun games. Heck, I guess a double jump would also be nice.
Ultimately, should these issues be stopping you from getting behind Creepy Road’s Kickstarter campaign? Not necessarily. I think the visuals are obviously the game’s biggest selling point, but in the same time I’d also be very intrigued to see more detailed boss gameplay and how that works with the various power-ups that are promised. I’m not sure if the Kickstarter will even be successful, but I am also kind of looking forward to seeing GroovyMilk‘s plans for Flint Trucker and whether he will manage to uncover the mysteries behind the sudden appearance of mini-gun-wielding cows and bored floating pandas…