"A World Less Sour Than Expected"
When I first saw World Gone Sour, I wasn't quite sure what to think. Terrible visions began coming back to me of previous horrendously designed "gamevertisements" such as Yo! Noid, an McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure. I was a bit jaded when I picked up the game and started playing it. I didn't expect anything special and I even expected to be frustrated with it within a few minutes and spend the next several hours joylessly trudging my way through a low-brow platformer. Luckily, I'm happy to say, that wasn't the case. The game is…actually pretty good!
World Gone Sour puts you in the shoes of a poor, lost Sour Patch Kid whose only desire is to be reunited with his peers so he can mindlessly sacrifice his life to your taste buds. Apparently, his race is a rather bizarre one - their whole lot in life is to die in the stomachs of humans all over the world, and those who don't, well… they tend to go more than a little crazy. As in, homicidal, doomsday-device building, axe-wielding, back-stabbing crazy.
The premise sounds a touch absurd, doesn't it? The narrator of the game, the eminent Creed Bratton (The Office) certainly seems to think so, and his deadpan delivery and snarky remarks are honestly a joy to listen to throughout the game. The humor at times borders on morbidity, and there were several points at which I couldn't help but think that they didn't design the game for children - they designed it for the gamers who used to scarf down whole bags of the candies at the movies.
Even better, every boss character you encounter has a backstory detailing how they ended up where they are, and just what brand of derangement they've developed - all told by the eminently charming, sarcastic narrator.
The gameplay is actually fun too, though it's here where World Gone Sour hits one of its first stumbling blocks (but more on that in a minute). The title feels like some weird pseudo-LittleBigPlanet adventure, and it gives your character a wide array of moves to utilize, including a grappling hook, wall kick, double jump, power throw, and ground pound. Oh, you can also fling your followers - the mini-sour patch kids, often to their death. As a matter of fact, the game encourages the reckless, hateful sacrifice of your tinier brethren, even rewarding you for killing them in every way imaginable. Of course, you can also absorb them to increase your size up to two times (which is necessary for certain moves). It's a little morbid, really... and quite entertaining for it.
I mentioned that World Gone Sour's controls where were the game encountered one of its first stumbling blocks - the double jump, wall kick, and grapple commands are often very, very finicky, and there were several occasions on which I found the wall kick command either didn't work as expected or didn't function at all. It wasn't a problem at first, but in later levels it's a positively crippling glitch, and it will very likely get you killed on more than one occasion.
Not that it matters, though. By that point, you'll have virtually infinite lives anyway. What's more, the bosses… aren't particularly unique or interesting. I like their aesthetic design, but when it comes to actually fighting them... they're not really all that epic or terrifying as they should be. The enemies, too, unique as many of them were, could have used a bit more variation in their ranks - I can't count the number of times I saw the same sentient wad of gum trying to devour me.
The graphics, while nothing particularly beautiful, are quite easy on the eyes, and each stage has its own unique look and design - from a movie theatre with a prehistoric feel, to a little girl's bedroom as imagined by Stephen King, to a creepy, abandoned garage, the three levels are a visual treat - even if they do tend to drag on a touch.
As for the sound, the narration in World Gone Sour is top notch, and the music is pretty catchy…but it gets so repetitive that you'll probably find yourself tuning it out not long after you start playing. Sound effects are decent too, with all the Sour Patch Kids babbling away happily in their strange language (or screaming in terror as you hurl them to their doom) - crackling fire, acidic pop… you get the idea.
All in all, World Gone Sour was actually something of a treat to play. Oh, and there's also co-op – you can play through the game in a semi-competitive fashion with a friend's help. However, was it the best game I've played this year? Not by a long shot. But it was damned fun while it lasted, and that's what counts in the long run, right? Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to run - I have the strangest craving for a bag of Sour Patch Kids.
GameDynamo's Score for World Gone Sour (PS3)
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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