Raskulls • Page 2

Driller killer.

The more you progress through the 50-odd levels of the Mega Quest, the more the puzzle-minded stages come to the fore, and test you in often entirely contrasting ways. Offering something of a respite after the nerve-jangling demands of the races, they ask you to, for example, defuse all the bombs placed snugly within a block-filled obstacle course. Allow one of the bombs to fall so much as one square, however, and you're back to the beginning, so it becomes a far more calculated affair.

Similarly exacting challenges require you to manoeuvre all the Shroomie houses onto their respective pedestals by carefully chipping away at the blocks beneath them. Allow too many blocks to fall, though, and they smash, resulting in another trip to the starting blocks.

Once the developer assumes that you've acquired the requisite skills, it ups the ante even further, with progressively more elaborate goals. One set of stages later in the game demands that you 'sculpt' specific shapes one after another, while others put the pressure on with monumentally demanding mission goals, such as reaching a falling exit line without being squashed by any of the blocks stacked up beneath it.

Elsewhere you'll be trying to defuse bombs within a strict time limit, or with a limited number of zaps, and then you'll be back to racing - except with the demented goal of getting to the finishing line without letting your frenzy bar deplete. If your thumbs (and your gaming pride) aren't bruised by the end of the first chapter, you'll be doing better than I.

2
Shouting lava lava lava.

So what better, then, than a crazed boss interlude, where you're chased by a giant laser around a hazard-strewn course? Although not as feisty as it looks, the panic is enough to rupture your permanently engorged adrenal gland. If you have any concerns about inducing an aneurism, then it's possibly wise to moderate your exposure.

We haven't even mentioned multiplayer yet. It's structured around the frenetic four-player racing template and you get the chance to duke it out over 16 courses, either online or in good old-fashioned four-player split-screen. For maximum flexibility, you can sample the chaos one race at a time, or indulge in any of the four-race Grand Prix events. It's utter lunacy, completely unfair, routinely annoying and yet absolutely glorious fun, just like the rest of the game.

Raskulls' crazed, crafted combination of platforming, racing and puzzling always promised to be something worth paying attention to, and so it has proved. It was determined to serve up undiluted fun at every turn, and it does, and in doing so has provided another stunning example of the why the download scene is the place to be right now.

9 /10

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Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed

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Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.

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