Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture Inc.
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Publisher: Marvelous Europe Limited
Travis Strikes is the wonderful and colourful adventure of Travis and Badman in Death Drive Mk II console (a fictitious console from the 90s) where the games are battling you. You must conquer every psychedelic and bright level thorough hack n slash combat with the odd puzzle and some platform aspects. The core of the gameplay is around hack n slash, sometimes too much emphasis is placed on the hack n slash to progress the game. A top-down view for the majority of the game during combat sections and views transition depending on whether you are navigating a level, completing a puzzle (side-scrolling or top-down) or facing a boss. The unique aspects of Travis Strikes again are the unique story, the humour, crudeness, toilet humour and the ability to poke fun at itself and other games. This where Travis Strikes again really excels and makes the game stand out. It’s a classic example of how to tell stories in-game and how to deliver them with impact.
Elements of the hack n slash incorporated with the amazing level aesthetic and design make for a visual feast for the eyes. Neon pinks, blues and greens explode off the screen as you kill enemies. The designers have made the enemies apart of the level design, the gameplay just meld into a beautiful colour palette that resembles Tron. As you use hard, regular or special attacks the visuals really make the game pop and come alive. The story of a game is a mix of funny, wonderful storytelling presenting in interesting ways and amazing aesthetics. The majority of the combat sequences are in 3D with the camera angle changing throughout the game depending on what game mechanic you are in. Storytelling is also done through a stylised 2D comic view with amazingly funny and crude humour (saving game requires using a toilet for instance). Then to top it off, another part of the game incorporates old-school green-screen PC RPG role-playing visuals too. The mix of all these elements is quite an achievement and the testament to great design. Throughout the game there is a huge amount of video game, movie and tv series references just effortlessly made a part of the script. Voice acting is superb and there is a real sense of funny storytelling merged with an excellent game.
While ultimately the game is superb in layout, aesthetics, design, voice acting and storytelling it does suffer from one thing, repetitive hack n slash gameplay, I like most gamers love a good hack n slash but there isn’t enough variety in the game in parts. For instance, long chains of hack n slash in each world need to be broken up with more puzzles and more game mechanics. The level set up is: you are enclosed in area, enemies appear, kill them, move to next enclosed area and repeat. Once you have completed the sections you will be greeted with a midway boss and then the level boss. It’s a bit formulaic and some variation would be nice, this is my gripe about the game.
I love the X-Rated humour, a game that understands fun is what gaming is about. This game has a clear understanding of what game design is and how to a great funny story across even though it’s absurd. Bright visuals and just stunning graphics make for a beautiful and stunning game too. In spite of some repetitive aspects of the game, there was more than enough in the game to win me over.
There is also a co-op mode available where you can play as Badman too.