Raskulls Review

Genres collide in cuteness with this satisfying Xbox Live Arcade title.

Alex Keenby Alex Keen

Raskulls Review

Raskulls came out on Xbox Live Arcade in late December.  Perhaps you may have missed it slogging down some drinks, drowning some cookies, or strangling some cousins.  No matter what you were doing, if you missed out on Raskulls you should definitely reconsider.

Raskulls is a 2-D platformer that immediately looks like a clone of Super Mario World.  You traverse a map of levels scurrying from one colored circle to the next.  Each circle represents a level that you either need to conquer or you already have conquered.  As you complete levels, you collect stars which in-turn unlock more levels, new difficulties, and Boss Battles!

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While the map of levels is a direct copy of Super Mario World, the rest of the game is its own special blend of puzzle-solving, racing, and battling.  If you were to mix together Tetris, Castle Crashers, and a dash of Super Bomberman, you’d have Raskulls.  Levels are split into several varieties.  Some are just pure race levels were you race against time (or opponents) to complete as many laps as possible.  Others are puzzle levels that require you to manage your resources to reach the level exit.  Finally, a third major type of level requires you to gently lower statues to the ground without breaking them.  

The one binding element of these level types is the use of puzzle blocks.  Quite similar to blocks in Tetris, these colored shapes obstruct your way to an exit, hold a statue aloft, or irritate explosive bombs as they grow impatient.  Your main obstacle is to work with, around, or through these blocks to reach the level exit.  In some cases, like in races, you’ll use a magic wand to blast through the blocks as fast as you can.  In other cases, you’ll need to strategically remove a block to ensure the statue doesn’t fall too far to the ground.

Does this sound interesting and fun to you?  It should, because Raskulls is a blast. It does a fantastic job of blending multiple genres together without losing each genre’s charms.  Plus the game has a chuckle-worthy storyline, some colorful graphics, and plenty of replay value.  While the main quest can be tackled in a just a few days, there are plenty of online modes and insane challenges to keep you busy

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The only major issue I had with the game was the controls not being as finely-tuned as I’d like. Raskulls is very playable and does what I wanted most of the time.  Nevertheless, I found myself a bit annoyed there-and-again when my character wouldn’t perform exactly as I might want.  

Besides that quibble, I still recommend this game highly and think it is well worth your hard-earned Xbox points.  So, if someone was kind of enough to drop you some ducats this Winter, be sure to give Raskulls a spin.