The 80’s is getting a bit of a massive revival right now, what with the likes of Stranger Things and Crossing Souls. Everyone seems to want to get a slice of nostalgia (and rightly so) so when the opportunity to review VideoKid 80’s edition I jumped at the chance, as I do love me some 80’s.
The secret to bringing these hyper-parodies to life is stuffing them chock full of pop culture reference and synth wave soundtracks and fake CRT scan lines. VideoKid edition has this in bucket loads, but it’s not always a good thing.
So what we have here is essentially an endless runner flagrantly inspired from the 1985 classic, Paperboy. Gone are the traditional pixelated graphics and in are the super sharp cubes recently found in games such as Crossy Road. You are Videokid (obviously) decked out in full Marty McFly attire (of Back to the Future fame). You must make your way to the park in time to mee the love of your life, Jessica. Of course, it’s not a simple case of riding your bike from one point to the next. On route, you must bust some tricks, avoid cops, marvel at the 80’s nostalgia and of course, deliver your pirate videos.
The first thing that struck me is the sheer amount of references that are in the game. From Inspector Gadget, Ghostbusters, TMNT, Bay watch, to Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Muppets (I’m sure of these are more 90’s than 80’s, but I won’t tell), the list goes on and on. The second thing that struck is how damn tough the game is. I mean it’s really hard. Which kind of harks back to the old days of gaming where you had one life, no continues and had to rely on skill. This is no bad thing, a game is made to challenge, and challenge it does.
As you go along your video delivery route you can grind your skateboard board on cars, but not all of them. You can combine tricks to up your score, all the while you’re trying to avoid things like potholes, the police (not the band) and an eclectic mix of obstacles that are just sitting in the road. While you have one eye on the road, you also need the other eye on the post boxes. Red ones need to be hit with a video cassette. Timing the throw is hard to master but satisfying when you nail it. It’s about getting the trajectory on point to make the delivery. So for a game that’s simple, there is a lot going on. Sometimes too much.
There are some incentives to keep on playing, that is if your ears can suffer the torture of distorted songs of the 80’s. If I hear the muppets song one more time, sung in a weird distorted chipmunks type voice I swear there’s gonna be murders on Sesame Street. Anyway, personal gripes aside, and despite the endless runner nature of the game, there are some end goals of sorts. The first one is money, delivering videos earns you cash which you can use to purchase new costumes and new tricks for your skateboard, all of which are just aesthetic, but its nice to have something to earn as you play. The original Steam version of the game had a neat feature that displayed a table of the first 25 people to beat the game on a website. This wasn’t available in the Xbox One review copy or, more likely it could be, I just didn’t make the cut.
I enjoyed Videokid 80’s edition a lot at the start, but given the difficulty curve and the many many attempts, you will notice that there are only a few 80’s references before the repetition kicks in, and when that happens the game really starts to grind (no pun intended). The block graphics, also probably not the smartest move. Some of the models can look a right mess. Jessica Rabbit and Inspector Gadget being the two main culprits. Had developers Pixel Trip Studios kept to pixel art graphics like Paperboy, the game that inspired it, the iconic 80’s references would have been much more refined and perhaps appreciated. As it stands, at points in the game looks like the 80’s has vomited on my TV. Bogus, dudes. It’s the combination of repetitive sound loops and messy graphics that makes replaying VideoKid more unpleasant that it should be, not the actual difficulty curve.
There is some quick blast fun to be had here, along with some secrets to find like underground sewers to ride. If you can stomach the graphics, and repetitive sound loops then you’ll probably have a big nostalgia like grin while playing this game simply due to its charm. It’s just a shame that the game it tries so hard to emulate is ultimately more fun.
Videokid 80s Edition is out now on PS4 (reviewed) Nintendo Switch and PC. Coming soon to Xbox One.
Developer: Pixel Trip Studios
Publisher: Pixel Trip Studios
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a review code from the publishers. For our full review policy, please go here.