Review #002: The Videokid (Nintendo Switch)
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Reviewed By: John Bush
Developed By: Pixel Trip Studios Published By: Chorus Worldwide Games Category: Action, Arcade Release Date: 8.30.18
Download The Videokid from the Nintendo eShop here.
Some games invoke elements from gaming and pop culture’s past subtly, attempting to create a game that acknowledges its influences while striving to create something new. The Videokid from Pixel Trip Studios doesn’t want anything to do with subtlety in regards to its assault on nostalgia for the 80s and maybe a little bit for the 70s and 90s to boot. From its gameplay to its visual references, The Videokid doesn’t have much in the way of originality, but it’s got more than enough style to make up for it.
Paperboy The Videokid Gameplay
So, like I said, from the ground up this game doesn’t offer much that you haven’t seen before – well, unless you’ve never played Paperboy from the NES days. You take on the role of The Videokid; some kid who dresses like Marty McFly and delivers video cassettes on his skateboard. Much like the NES classic, the goal is to get those VHS tapes to all of the red mailboxes along your route. There are obstacles in the form of cars, pedestrians, benches, traffic cones, and more that you have to navigate in order to get to the end of the street where VK’s girlfriend, Jessica, awaits. The cassettes can also be used to destroy environmental objects or beam pedestrians as well, to often amusing results.
The Videokid has a few advantages over Paperboy in the gameplay area. First and foremost among these is the pace of the game. Like a lot of NES classics, Paperboy doesn’t exactly move at a snappy pace. VK moves faster and more fluidly than PB ever did. The controls are very responsive and the game just generally feels smooth and polished in that respect.
The Videokid also introduces a stunt mechanic with the skateboard, which is pretty cool. There are three lanes VK can occupy during the game; the sidewalk, and two lanes of traffic going in opposite directions. VK can jump on and do tricks off of obstacles like cars, benches, and mailboxes. There are some obstacles that can’t be used in tricks, however, like fire hydrants and certain vehicles (FYI: Herbie the Love Bug is a <expletive deleted>). Doing tricks generates points, which are used to… uh… I have no idea, actually.
The Economics of Throwing VHS Tapes At Stuff
So Like I said, doing tricks gets you points. Breaking stuff by throwing VHS tapes at them also gets you points. What do you do with points? Well… I can’t really figure that out. As an avid gamer, I am in favor of points at all times, but the points need to have a… well, they need to have a point. Even if it’s just a top scores leaderboard, at least that’s something. In The Videokid, points are largely their own reward. I couldn’t find a way to access or look at top scores or anything, so I’m not really sure why they’re even being counted. It’s just kind of confusing.
On the other hand, rolling through the street, VK comes across coins and dollar bills that he can collect. He also gets money by delivering tapes to red mailboxes and for breaking certain environmental objects. Money has a point and it’s a good one. You can purchase new costumes and rad new skateboard tricks between runs, and there are some good ones. There are off-brand costumes for all kinds of 80s icons that I don’t want to mention for legal reasons in case I get sued. I don’t really think I can get sued for this stuff, but why take the chance?
The Videokid has a healthy respect for the power of the voxel to create a bright, simple, and sharp visual style. Character models are slightly more detailed than your average Minecraft skin, but not by too much. Still, everything is bright and colorful and the references are unmistakable. All of the different characters are really made to work under the same voxel style, no matter their original medium. The game has a largely suburban setting, but it even manages to keep the backgrounds fresh by mixing them up from time to time. There are residential areas, commercial areas, and the sewers, just to name a few different settings the game rolls through. Long story short, the game’s visuals stay fresh and attractive the whole way through.
The music is composed by Aleksander Vinter - perhaps known better by his stage name, Savant. The soundtrack consists of catchy, up-tempo, chiptune-style electronic music, and it may be my favorite part of the game. In addition to some great music, there are numerous background sounds that accompany most of the game’s visual references. Whether it’s an extended “Hoooo!” when a certain lord of certain cat-people rides by in his tank or a “Ha-ha!” when a beloved children’s entertainer rides by on his long-lost bike, the game pays attention to even its smallest details with any reference it makes.
Be Kind, Recap
The Videokid is a charming indie game that succeeds on all levels. The gameplay is solidly designed and smoothly executed; more importantly it’s just fun to play. The game’s graphics are sharp and visually engaging, and work in tandem with that audio track to maximize the game’s emphasis on nostalgia. And, really, what more are you looking for in a game?
Final Score: 10/10
Download TheVideokid from the Nintendo eShop here.
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