BattleBlock Theater (Video Game Review)
BattleBlock Theater exudes a unique charm unlike any other game and features the most humorous storyline ever featured in a downloadable title. A team of friends set off on an exciting adventure, but a tremendous storm appeared while the crew was still at sea that flung the group from their ship and caused the ship to wreck on a mysterious island. As it turns out, the island is home to a bizarre group of cats that force the team to perform on stage for their amusement in the local prison. The story of BattleBlock Theater plays out over the next 80 or so stages that get progressively more difficult and feature cutscene animations that add a bit more clarity to the situation with the completion of each chapter. The entire game is narrated by StamperTV of YouTube fame, who truly brings the game to life much in the same ways that the narrator helped create the perfect atmosphere in Bastion. BattleBlock Theater's storyline is by far the best created by the team and one of the biggest reasons to pick up the new title on Xbox LIVE Arcade.
BattleBlock Theater is an action platformer at its core with plenty of puzzles and hidden items spread across the numerous levels throughout the game. The game can be played solo to climb, jump, slide, fight with cats and performing other platforming fare all while collecting each stage's hidden gems and a ball of yarn. Players then take these found items to the prison store to unlock some of the 300 prisoners featured in the game and unlock special attacks that include throwing land mines, shooting fireballs that can light enemies and the player that cast the fire ablaze or even a singing and dancing frog grenade. BattleBlock Theater is a fun experience in single player, but the game is packed with a plethora of levels and additional content, so you can head into local or online cooperative matches for a completely different set of stages that will require both players working together to reach the exit of each stage. Harder versions of stages are also available to play for players that find the default stages too simple, and there are secret areas in many stages that will take a lot of time to find through both campaigns. A full-fledged online multiplayer component exists in the game as well that places players in 2 vs. 2 battle in a variety of game modes including Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and more unique modes such as battle basketball played with a soccer ball. All of this adds up to give players hours of entertainment and a game that fans will definitely feel gave them their money's worth.
The classic art style of The Behemoth is on full display in BattleBlock Theater. Anyone familiar with the developer will instantly feel at home with the colorful characters and environments that opt for silly looking characters rather than realism. A great soundtrack compliments the action in the game nicely, and StamperTV makes an appearance on the soundtrack as well with the amazing secret area theme. The controls in the game are fine, and will rarely make players think the game was at fault for a death, though the combat is a bit mundane without the proper special attack equipped. The game is packed with plenty of content that would take most gamers weeks to fully explore, and BattleBlock Theater also comes packed with an impressive map editor that features all of the tools necessary to create and share new stages with the community, and custom playlists are also an option. Simply put, BattleBlock Theater is a bargain as 1200 Microsoft Points and is one of the best new downloadable titles available on any platform and one that will make other gamers envious of Xbox 360 owners.
BattleBlock Theater is now available exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade and can be purchased for 1200 Microsoft Points. BattleBlock Theater is rated T by the ESRB for Blood, Crude Humor and Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official BattleBlock Theater website.
Developer: The Behemoth
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Available exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade
Release Date: April 3, 2013