Few games have managed to hook my attention and annoy the s*** out of me simultaneously, but the Videokid sure ticks all the boxes. What Pixel Trip Studios have created here is a simple, yet beautifully crafted game that is as addictive as Cocaine, the hip drug to take in the 80s according to a Google search I just ran.
Now I must admit, I’m actually a 90s child, but only by three months, so a lot of the references in the game are still relevant to me such as seeing the A-Team van being chased by cops, Lucy from the Charlie Brown cartoon selling lemonade and what I believe was the robot from Short Circuit running down a sidewalk.
Anyway, the Videokid is based on the hit classic Paper Boy; you play the part of a nice young chap who makes pirate video tapes and on his way to his girlfriend Jessica’s house, posts said tapes into people’s mailboxes. Along the way, you’ll be able to take out care bears, knock paint over innocent bystanders, trap what may well be Homer Simpson under a car and smash people’s windows, all by launching your tapes at your intended target. It may sound like a bunch of mean things to do, but it does give you points so that makes it ok right?
As you can guess by the description so far, the gameplay is extremely simple; you head down the road using the arrow keys to move left, right and to jump, navigating traffic and trying to collect coins. At the same time as dodging oncoming vehicles, you need throw video tapes using the spacebar, mainly to post the tapes into red mailboxes but also to interact with your environment and create havoc. Completing these tasks then earns you money and points.
Money earned can be spent in a store which is available to enter between your attempts at getting as far as you can in the game, don’t worry though you won’t forget to check it out as annoying pop-up ads appear to remind you to go buy stuff. The store boasts numerous characters to purchase, all based on hit 80s icons such as the Karate Kid, Postman Pat and the Joker, as well as unlocking tricks to perform whilst out on the street.
The points currently go toward earning a place in the hall of fame which I don’t think has quite been filled yet so there may be an opportunity for someone to get their name on it, unfortunately for me, I’m not too good, so don’t expect to see me there anytime soon.
The reason I’m so bad is because I am constantly getting distracted by the amazing graphics and 80s references; I’ll be on a good run and then it’s like “did I just see Michael Jackson?” and before I know it I’ve crashed into a car or skated into Inspector Gadget’s legs. Or I’ll be admiring the lovely scenes of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle’s sewers and I’ll get tripped up by Master Splinter, or miss out the fact I need to hit a switch to prevent being run over by a train.
Still, once I get knocked down I get back up, and in the several hours I’ve played this game, I just seem to repeat that process again, and again and again. It’s genuinely frustrating and my girlfriend has told me to calm down on numerous occasions as I scream at the screen.
You do get some help along the way though in the form of power-ups, of which there are three available. The first is a speed boost, usually always found at the same point, in front of a sewer cover being held up by a Turtle to act as a ramp to get you over an oncoming lorry.
The next is a mega jump, this is more of a hindrance at times than it is a blessing, as it can cause you to miss out on combos with small vehicles and you can hit things like bus stop signs, come head-on with some trucks though and you’ll be glad you have the power to jump them. The final one is a mega shot, which essentially enters you into a rapid-fire mode where your character automatically launches videos, hitting almost everything in sight and relieving you of the stress of it all, allowing you to focus more on where you are going.
I do find that I am getting better though and it isn’t a case of practice makes perfect, well maybe it is a little bit. But I think it is more to do with the repetitiveness of some parts of the game. Like with the sewers I mentioned, the layout is the same on each run through; you go through an easy section which ends with you grinding an alligator, then a second section which ends as stated above, with a train usually running you over unless you hit the switch to stop it, and so on.
This means that on certain sections of the game you know exactly what is coming, even if the events are out of sequence, you’ll pretty much recognise what you need to do and what will be ahead of you. The only differences really are sometimes the obstacles may be laid out slightly differently, and the timing of some stuff may not be exactly the same.
In all honesty though the pop-up ads and predictability of some sections of the game are the only flaws I found when playing the Videokid, everything else was spot on. The pixelated retro graphics and the custom soundtrack from DJ Savant tie in nicely with the 80s theme whilst still keeping the game feeling fresh and modern.
Not just that, the gameplay was the perfect balance of being entertaining and challenging, enough to wind you up that you want to throw your Laptop/PC out of the window but fun enough that you would refrain from doing so because you wanted to tackle the game again later telling it “I’ll be back!” whilst you go make a brew to calm down. And who can forget the number of references made to the 80s in the game, I mean OMG! I didn’t think it would be possible to fit so much into one game but the guys at Pixel Trip Studios have done a stellar job and created possibly one of the biggest nostalgia trips anyone could go on.
The Videokid TL;DR:
- A modern take on the classic hit Paper Boy that provides a serious nostalgia trip.
- Seriously challenging gameplay that will both entertain and frustrate anyone who plays.
- An exclusively designed soundtrack and stunning retro graphics which feature some of your favourite comic book, tv show and movie characters of the 80s.
- Predictable tracks mean you can pre-empt some sections of the game.
- Annoying pop-up ads you’d expect from a free mobile game, asking you to head to the in-game store to purchase more characters etc.
The Videokid is an indie title developed and published by Pixel Trip Studios and is available to purchase on Steam. If interested, you can read our Interview with Adam Jeffcoat of Pixel Trip Studios by clicking HERE. We’re also having a competition to win one free copy of the Videokid, so to be in with a chance, head over to the competition page HERE. Also check out more of our reviews HERE.