Regular Show – Mordecai & Rigby in 8-bit land is the first video game for Cartoon Network’s Regular Show, created by WayForward, who also brought us Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!! another first step into the DS arena from a Cartoon Network show. Whilst the latter was an awesome little game which nicely paid homage to the show, this latest offering from WayForward is a little more lacking in challenge.
The game starts with Rigby and Mordecai in the park in which they work as groundskeepers. Their boss Benson asks them to ensure they mow the lawn and in their typical fashion, they instead decide to procrastinate and check out their new video game. As they turn on the game, they are sucked through their console into 8-bit land, where the game begins.
8-bit land comprises of four worlds, each with a boss fight at the end and features three styles of retro gameplay. 8-bit land is visually a lot more like 16-bit land, but regardless the colourful pixel graphics are fun to play with and the concept of the game is a cool nod to old school gaming, packaged up for younger gamers to appreciate.
Sadly excluding Benson, who is only present for the opening sequence, none of the characters on the Regular Show roster make cameo appearances. This feels like a missed opportunity and once into the game, it is possible to forget the IP of the game entirely which is a real shame, given the lovely nature of the Regular Show and its characters.
There is no real narrative to the game and no voice acting at all, although the opening sequence which explains the premise of the game was written by the show’s creator J.G Quintel. The game is accompanied by a fitting, energetic soundtrack and some awesome sound effects, which help set the scene and are one of the most redeeming features of the game.
Once in 8-bit land, you start with a set of platform levels, playing as Mordecai but with the ability to switch between characters as needed, Rigby can squeeze through small tunnels and Mordecai can fly higher to reach floating platforms. As you pass through the level you encounter enemies in the form of snails and punch swinging thugs.
The controls throughout are a little sloppy and the hit detection overzealous, one pixel either way when jumping on an enemy and you will need to restart the level. This is extremely frustrating at times and is the major issue with this game, given that it feels more geared towards a younger audience, the unforgiving accidental deaths could easily lose the interest of someone with a shorter attention span; I know that mine was seriously taxed at times.
The second world takes on a shooter style of play and sees Mordecai transformed into a spaceship, where the aim is to take down enemy ships and avoid debris flying in your direction. Controlling the ship is difficult, there is a lag as you move which makes getting in a good position to shoot down enemies tricky. The third world offers a top-down shooter style of play, which requires you to navigate through a series of rooms, moving only in eight directions, shooting enemies you encounter. The fourth world combines all styles of play and makes for the most entertaining of the four, although at times switching styles feels very clumsy and results in a lot of deaths. Although integrating three classic styles of gameplay is a cool concept, the execution in places makes the game pretty difficult to play for the wrong reasons.
Each boss level you encounter at the end of each world is pattern-based, you’re tasked with hiding and attacking until the enemy is thrashed. The final boss allows you to switch between all methods of play you’ve acquired throughout the game, making it by far the most entertaining showdown. The multi-style gameplay concept really comes into its own in the fourth world, where you can use all styles to better traverse the levels.
Additional lives in the form of mullets and various power ups are available to collect as you go along and progress can be saved at flag points midway through each level. Golden tapes can also be found hidden within levels and used to unlock extras. Cash is also collectable and can be used in simple mini-games between levels, where you can win lives by betting cash or 3DS play coins. The unlockable extras consist of a gallery, music test, cheat codes and an increased difficulty level which gives you tougher enemies to beat. Given the short length of the game, it’s a shame there are so few extras. Whilst the added difficulty level is a neat feature, this isn’t the kind of title you would be likely to play twice.
The levels are very simplistic, which makes repeating them time and time again due to the poor hit detection very frustrating. The game only takes a couple of hours to complete in total, which makes it more suitable for a younger audience.
Old school gamers in search of some nostalgia, or Regular Show fans looking for a homage to their favourite show will likely be disappointed, although the quirky soundtrack, graphics and concept will appeal to younger viewers of the show and introduce them to the origins of their favourite games and the simpler times of retro gaming. Whilst the game certainly has some pitfalls and it would have been nice to see more of the Regular Show characters and personality injected, the varying styles of gameplay are entertaining and the inventive concept has to be admired.