Foul Play

Foul Play review

Foul Play review

Ungentlemanly conduct.

There's too much about Foul Play that feels overly familiar. It's yet another indie game with a mock Victorian presentation, as you take control of daemon-hunting gentleman Lord Dashforth and his pugnacious sidekick, Scampwick. The action is framed as a theatre show - a concept already wrung dry by the likes of The Gunstringer, Battleblock Theater and the recent Puppeteer - while the gameplay itself is a straightforward 2D melee beat-'em-up, a genre that is hardly endangered at the moment.

The premise is that the reclusive Lord Dashforth is, for one night only, regaling an audience with his (mostly) true stories of adventures battling the supernatural. Each of the game's six plays opens with Dashforth holding court from his armchair, before leaping into flashback action as the scenery unfolds around him.

Where the stage show presentation impacts the gameplay is in the way traditional features are contextualised. Instead of a health bar, you have approval from the audience. The higher your combo score, the greater the applause and the higher the meter rises. Take too many hits and it drops back down again, and must be refilled with more attacks.

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VideoWatch us play Foul Play live at 11am

10 XBLA codes to give away.

Foul Play, out today on XBLA and Steam, is a side-scrolling brawler with a cute twist - it's all played out on a stage as you, an English gentleman explorer, enact the story of your adventures with the aim of pleasing the audience with your combo skills. It's from UK developer Mediatonic, makers of the entertaining WTF?, Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess and the Amateur Surgeon games.