Devolver Digital’s Foul Play is a unique and witty 2D side-scrolling adventure that is as addicting as it is charming.
Visuals – 4/5
Foul Play has a unique look and feel to it due to the setting of the game. The game takes place on a stage as the protagonists are acting out a play. The visuals compliment this idea well, since the environments look like stage props and moving backdrops. The charming art style of the game and the creative setting is enhanced by the 2D visuals and the handcrafted quality of the animations. The protagonist, Baron Dashforth and his sidekick Scampwick are the playable characters. Their designs are fun and whimsical to perfectly compliment the overall look of the game.
Sound – 3/5
The music and sound of Foul Play is not overly impressive, since a few of the sound effects are a bit generic. The music is fun; it is not overly unique, but it has its own charm. The music compliments the art style very well since the music is as whimsical as the environments. I did enjoy the sound effects that were used to represent each character’s speaking lines, however. They were fun and fit the overall feel of the game.
Controls – 3.5/5
The basis of the game is a typical button mashing beat ‘em up. The controls are easy to get a hold of and easy to master. The game forces the player to mash at such a fast rate to avoid losing their score streak or to block attacks from a large number of enemies. I had times where I needed to take a break from the game due to the arm pain that comes with trying to get the highest scores. However, the game’s controls are extremely precise, despite all the quick button mashing I did. The game picked up every command and remained very responsive. The simple controls make this game accessible to a large number of players, whether they are very new to gaming or longtime players.
Gameplay – 4/5
Foul Play is as fun as it is charming. This side-scrolling game moves at a really nice pace and allows all the new abilities to come once the player has mastered the last. Collecting the charms is a fun challenge and equipping them makes for a personalized experience. The challenges also add another layer to the game. Completing challenges can be sometimes difficult to obtain and are optional; adding a level of difficulty to players that are looking for a bit more of a challenge.
Foul Play is essentially a play and the life meter is replaced by a Mood-o-Meter that goes down when the player gets hit and makes the crowd not as excited. If the crowd is not enjoying the performance and the meter drops to zero, the game is over. This is an extremely creative idea for the game and it was very enjoyable and effective mechanic.
Value – 4/5
Foul play has five plays and twenty-two acts to play through. The acts are fairly lengthy and are lots of fun. This game offers much to do, especially when completing all of the challenges. Also, trying to unlock all the stars for each act adds a lot of playtime and is very rewarding for those who like to get 100% completion.
Overall – 4/5
Foul Play is a very unique experience that is charming and creative. Foul Play brings a fresh new take to the beat em’ up genre, from the charming characters and the colorful environments that leave gamers asking for more.
Foul Play is available on PS4, Vita, Xbox 360, PC and Mac. Have you acted out all the scenes of Baron Dashforth’s life? Let us know in comments below!