Battleblock Theater: Lost Friendships, Cats and Will Stamper’s Voice

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Battleblock Theater is a 2-dimensional platformer that features multiplayer mechanics for competitive and cooperative play.

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Enter this world from the minds behind Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, featuring the vocal pornography of Will Stamper, and you won’t want to leave. If that world has crazed cats running a broken-down theater of death then you might want to leave; thank god this is just a (fantastic) game.

You are tossed, genitals-first, into this crazed theater of gloom and destruction to die repeatedly and hilariously for the thrill of cats. Thus begins your epic struggle to escape this dastardly theater of perpetual danger and feline devilry. Welcome to Battleblock Theater.

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Every level is tailor made for one or two players and has the fantastic narration of Will Stamper. If you’ve never heard this name before that’s not a surprise but you’re definitely aware of the site Newgrounds which he and the other members of the developer Behemoth are part of.

A Will Stamper video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOjnP8MEB54
(Beware of mature language/content on the rest of his videos)

When you start up Battleblock Theater you’re greeted by a fantastic cinematic explaining your impending predicament. You and the merry crew of the S.S. Friendship crash land on a mysterious island. Hatty Hatterson (the leader of this veritable friendship) then has a mysterious hat placed on his head that turns him evil as you’re taken captive. As you’re taken prisoner the cats then place you onto a stage to solve puzzles, battle cats, and run from gigantic squirrel-deer-monsters (any clarification to what they actually are would be welcome) in an attempt to earn your freedom.

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Owners of Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid will receive special characters.

The game’s single-player campaign features the same progression as the co-op but without the ability to push your friend into water, jump on their head then make it to safety. Yes I would suggest playing this game with a close friend of yours and if you never talk to them again it’s still going to be worth it. The game’s pacing never gets boring when you play with someone else and the difficulty uniquely varies based on BOTH of your skill levels and not just your own. It adds much more depth to the game than what exists in playing by yourself.

That being said the core of the game is still there when you play single-player and you might even be more likely to find the secret areas or get higher scores on the levels because you won’t have someone else’s time in your hands.

When you collect gems and balls of yarn in the game they can be used to unlock new characters (which are essentially heads) and weapons to be used in single-player and multiplayer. Gems can also be obtained in the arena but it seems like yarn is only obtainable in the story mode which was a little upsetting.

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The game has 8 arena modes for local or online play.

Battleblock comes with a seemingly large selection of levels for many multiplayer game modes. The number of course feels shorter after a few hours and you realize you’ve run through every map for that game mode. You have modes like “capture the horse” and a sport that seems mostly related to basketball. Some of the game modes are pretty poorly thought out but there’s some charm to them, just not much staying power. The sports mode however is fantastic and will be a go-to whenever I have three or more friends over. By the end of the match you’ll probably be better friends with your adversaries than your team mate but that’s the fun in it, right?

Like mentioned above there’s a limited number of levels available that comes with the game but it does come with the ability to play levels online that are created by other players. This is of course a great feature to have but it’s relatively expected in a game like this. It allows smaller games to expand their play-time and in turn the game’s value to the players. It’s well done and allows you to play the best levels made online.

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Co-op mechanics add a lot more to every level.

The game’s story itself is actually pretty cool and unique but the best parts about it are the cinematics between chapters that, of course, feature Will Stamper’s voice. He has a way of riding the previously inexistent line between gentlemanly and completely childish. It’s a fantastic voice that compliments the nature of the gameplay and the fictional severity of the story. The rest of the game’s audio, music and effects, are also fantastic and will stand out after a few hours of play when you hear a song for the 20th time and still realize you dig it.

One of the songs is in fact Stamper’s voice just remixed overtop of itself. It’s glorious.

Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwZISypgA9M

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This game is a triumph.

With the campaign taking you about 6-8 hours to beat, the multiplayer modes lasting you for a while and the level editor giving you yet another thing to waste time on it’s safe to say that this game is easily worth the $15.00 you’ll pay for it on XBLA. Of course this requires you to actually own a 360. I apologize Playstation owners this gem is for our consoles only; go get cozy with a friend who has a 360 and have a ball. This game is fantastic.

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? / 5

It’s not that I don’t believe in numbers to rate games but it would even feel lackluster to give Battleblock a 5/5 because you would just compare it to other 5/5 games like Bioshock Infinite and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (that’s an anticipatory rating because it looks so goddamn cool). Battleblock is a unique game that deserves to be rated on it’s own scale with other unique titles like Braid and Hotline Miami.

Screw it just take the 5/5 and be gone with you.

5 / 5

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