With a tentacle arm, a prosthetic hook hand, an eye patch and a Nightmare Before Christmas rictus grin, Scarygirl lives up to the somewhat unkind name her parents burdened her with. But it's a Gruffalo kind of scary, the sort of character a 14-year-old girl with pink hair and thick mascara who hates her dad might cuddle up to in bed, if it were sold as a plushie. And it's this kooky appeal that makes for a perfect video game lead.
The creation of 34-year-old Australian illustrator Nathan Jurevicius, Scarygirl is best known for her appearances in psychedelic, reinterpreted tales of folklore, stories through which she attempts to find her identity while under the watchful eye of her octopus guardian, Blister. This spin-off platform game sticks closely to the mythology of the world, sending the titular heroine off on an adventure over forests, up mountains and through ice caverns to find out who or what is behind her haunting dreams.
Expectedly perhaps, the art and animation are the strongest aspects of the game. Scarygirl herself exudes character, with vibrant animations as she leaps, dives and helicopter-spins her way through the undergrowth. Levels are designed in the style of Klonoa, with winding '2.5D' pathways that curve into and out of the screen while parallax background layers add depth off into the misty distance. The game's 21 stages are divided into seven worlds, none of which stand out from the usual platform game tropes, but all of which have their own charm and interest.