Game Review

Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dave Letcavage

Regular Show game for 3DS, send it to the moon

When we heard that WayForward was developing a Regular Show video game, we were optimistic. Not only does the studio generally pump out better-than-expected licensed games, but last year it produced Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!, which ended up being a loving tribute to the show. So if WayForward could understand and create a game that faithfully pulled ideas and characters from one highly-popular Cartoon Network television show, it could do the same for another, right? In comes Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land.

The story is said to be penned by show creator J.G. Quintel, which is odd because there’s barely a story to speak of. To sum it up, Mordecai and Rigby decide to partake in their usual amount of slacking in lieu of mowing the lawn, and end up being sucked into a mysterious video game console – alas, they’ve entered 8-Bit Land! As we’re sure you’ve already noticed, the visual presentation of 8-Bit Land is actually more reflective of 16-bit, instead it’s the gameplay that's reminiscent of the NES and Master System days. Doing things a bit differently, though, the game features not one, but three completely different styles of play to get acquainted with.

First up is standard platforming – but there’s a twist. At the press of a button players can switch between Mordecai and Rigby, who each have a different ability. Where Mordecai can double jump to reach the loftier platforms, Rigby can run on all fours allowing him to access tight pathways and openings. There’s a little float when jumping – more noticeable with Mordecai – but overall the controls are fittingly solid. The biggest problem is the unforgivable hit detection when landing on the head of an enemy. If you don’t plop straight down on their center, it’s back to the last checkpoint or beginning of the level for you. Despite this issue, we enjoyed the first world enough for what it was – super simple platforming – and figured it would only get better from there.

We were wrong.

The second world finds Mordecai transforming into a spaceship to get his horizontal shooter on. Playing like Gradius – though there’s no auto-scrolling and you can roam at will – players will blast down enemy ships and avoid incoming projectiles on their way to the end of the level. Controlling the ship is obtuse, with a weird slip 'n lag motion when moving in any direction. This makes it hard to traverse the narrow sections and line up shots with the extremely tiny enemy ships. Practice will expectedly make things slightly more manageable, but we never arrived at the point where it felt right – or was even much fun to play. By the middle of this world, as the difficulty ramps up, it becomes apparent just how poorly designed the concept is.

Lastly, the third world introduces you to Smash TV-style gameplay. When approaching the grey wallpaper-like zones, pressing either shoulder button will have Rigby cling to the wall, presenting a “top-down” view. Movement is kept to eight directions, and if you want to shoot you’ll have to hold the Y-button once facing the desired direction, causing you to strafe simultaneously. It works alright, but shooting diagonally on the fly is clumsy and aggravating, regardless of whether you’re using the D-pad or Circle Pad. The level design in these zones is also at its worst, further degraded by enemies that perpetually walk into walls – it can be an utter mess. There are fun moments, though they’re almost always fleeting.

It’s when this eclectic collection of retro styles are incorporated into a single level that 8-Bit Land starts to show signs of true potential. Thus is the makeup of the fourth – and final – world. When each zone is segued by standard platforming, things work fine, but when switching needs to happen in mid-air with lightning-fast reflexes it becomes a clumsy mess of undeserved deaths. Overall, we found this world to be less grating than the two before it, which is mostly attributed to not participating in one style of play for too long.

So that’s four worlds, each made up of four levels and capped off by a boss battle. From the Destroyer of Worlds to The Hammer, these are pattern-based showdowns that rotate from dodge to attack until the enemy is defeated. There are a couple of small shake-ups – hitting The Hammer with furniture and switching between all learned methods of play to defeat the final boss – but by-and-large it’s pretty rudimentary. The presence of these immediately-recognizable bosses is the only real fan service found in the package, as well. Outside of the singing-and-dancing cassette tape from the episode “This is my Jam” and maybe the presence of geese, the selections feel like missed opportunities when you consider the wealth of memorable characters from the show’s history. Benson does makes his brief appearance in the opening sequence, however Pops, Skips, Muscle Man, and High Five Ghost are nowhere to be found – which is nearly a crime.

At least the energetic soundtrack, seemingly by the always-reliable composer Jake “Virt” Kaufman, is radical enough to often have you fist-pumping through the worst of times. These tracks, along with some retro-tastic sound effects, were our absolute favourite part of 8-bit Land. Even though the visuals don’t offer much variation, the sprite work along with the lively character animations are suitable for the source material and gameplay, complimenting the audio well enough for an aesthetically pleasing package for fans of both the show and of old-school video games in general. Be warned though, there is no voice acting throughout the entire game.

The gameplay, at its best, rarely ventures beyond mediocre territory. Generally uninteresting level design, repetitive environments, slippery controls and spotty hit detection ensure that there is always something working against your enjoyment. Oh, and did we mention that unless you’ve obtained one of the power-ups – which allow you to shoot projectiles – you’ll lose a life over a single enemy collision? Trust us, it can be as frustrating as it gets. The good moments, and there are some, are hardly worthwhile enough to endure the bad. We think maybe we’d prefer to set up the chairs next time, instead.

Conclusion

Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land is almost a decent enough game, but serious gameplay flaws keep it from reaching its potential. The idea of incorporating three different styles of play into a single level is borderline genius, and 8-Bit Land comes close to delivering a unique experience, but ultimately the pieces just aren’t glued together well enough. Then when you consider it takes about two hours to reach 100% completion, it's obvious the value in no way matches its retail status. Even if you’re a massive fan of the show and plan on buying the game regardless of our opinion, you’d be best off waiting for a discount before being sucked into this bite-sized disappointment. It's not quite as bad as seeing Pops in his birthday suit, but we have a feeling some of you will prefer it stricken from your memory, anyway.

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User Comments (39)

Tupin

#1

Tupin said:

Such a shame. The people over at WayForward seem really cool, and I would have thought they knew what they were doing with this one. Maybe they really did try too much.

Makes me wonder if/when and what they're going to make that MLP game they apparently want to make so badly.

PaperLucario

#2

PaperLucario said:

Ouch, wouldn't see this result coming out of something from Wayforward, but eh, I'm just waiting for my Shantae.

Aaronzord

#3

Aaronzord said:

I love Regular Show. I do not love this game. Really one of the worst games I've played all year...it just plays like a cheap, throwaway mobile game. Absolutely dismal...I'd rather go to the sauna with Muscle Man than play this game anymore.

NbaJunkie

#7

NbaJunkie said:

I was hoping this would be decent enough for my son. Looks like im sticking to Mario party and tmnt this xmas

Drobotic

#10

Drobotic said:

ANOTHER short game based on a CN show?I hope Explore the Dungeon isn't like this.

SheldonRandoms

#11

SheldonRandoms said:

When I read "Regular Show game for 3DS, send it to the moon" I thought that it was going to be good, since Wayforward developed Ducktales: Remastered, and the moon level in that game is............well, you know.

Wayforward are busy with Shantae, maybe next time I guess.

OdnetninAges

#12

OdnetninAges said:

Considering the fact that I don't like Adventure Time too much, but I love Regular Show, this is extremely disappointing.

HandheldGuru97

#13

HandheldGuru97 said:

Sigh, I saw the reviews for this game and was very disappointed with Wayforward especially after the better than expected Adventure Time HIKWYSOG?! (I love writing that way too!!!!). Oh well another crappy licensed another day in the world of gaming. Might be time to bust out HIKWYSOG?! again as it is one of the best licensed game to come out in years

Kaze_Memaryu

#14

Kaze_Memaryu said:

Well, if WayForward doesn't even mention this game on it's homepage, something must be wrong with it (just like that Smurfs game).

kenshinrurouni

#16

kenshinrurouni said:

I actually really enjoyed this game. I love in world 4 how they make you switch between Moredcai and Rigby mid-air while trying to switch between the 3 different genres of into a level.....it's so frustratingly fun! The Konami TMNT NES sounding music in the final boss fight is a great throwback. Then, when you complete the game, you get New Game Plus where you have to finish each level in a time limit without having to get those collectible golden vhs tapes. That's where the real fun begins!

1upsuper

#17

1upsuper said:

expected/10. I've played WayForward games for several years now, and I've never understood the hype. They have no idea what they're doing most of the time. Jake Kaufman is the best part about WF.

hamsterfactor

#22

hamsterfactor said:

I don't watch Regular Show, but I'm hoping the new Adventure Time game is better than this... although I can't buy it right now anyway.

unrandomsam

#26

unrandomsam said:

@Drop-Dead-Fred I like Jett Rocket 2 but don't want to just blast through it as I don't expect much like it for a while.

I have only played the first Mighty Switch Force there was one or two really good levels and it was technically quite good. If all the levels were like the good ones it would be really good. I sort of thought that it was made to sell whether 2D engine they have really.

ReigningSemtex

#27

ReigningSemtex said:

I love regular show but from the moment I heard about this game I looked it up on YouTube and was instantly disappointed so this review just confirmed my doubts

unrandomsam

#28

unrandomsam said:

@Hyperstar96 I have played it (Concurrently with the NES version) and I prefer the NES version. (And usually I would take any version over the NES version of almost just about anything else).

The original plays tight like Megaman (No surprises as it uses the Megaman 3 engine).

The removed all the good jumping bits (As they would have to because the controls are not right). Put the unskippable cutscenes in. I don't seem to be able to manage just using the pogo stick in a controlled manner. (i.e at the last second after a jump. Always have to start on it first.)

Overall it looks alright but they would have been better off using whatever they used for Mighty Switch Force and just fixing the small issues like sprite flicker.

Think it is quite likely the problem is Unity. Not found a good game using Unity well for anything that requires precision controls.

Hyperstar96

#29

Hyperstar96 said:

@unrandomsam Are we talking about the same game? The game I'm talking about (DuckTales Remastered) has tight controls, skippable cutscenes, and an easy-to-use pogo that only requires one button instead of a needlessly-complicated down+B combination. Also, it doesn't use the Unity Engine.

WYLD-WOO

#31

WYLD-WOO said:

@Hyperstar96
Sam is talking about the same game. I would have to say that the NES version is much better from a game play point of view. I have only played the remastered version on demo and was really disappointed. I think the problem with some new platforms is how easy they are. Saying that I`m sure Duck Tales remastered get`s harder? Should I give it a chance?

WYLD-WOO

#32

WYLD-WOO said:

@unrandomsam
Your bang on about Mighty Switch Force. I have done about 3-4 hours on Jett 2 so far and I`m only on world/area 2-3. It`s not a easy game, if your after all the unlockables. Really feeling the 2D levels with hope that the 3D one`s get better. Am having issues with Jett 2 after I die tho, where the screen just goes black and I have to reset my 3DS. I was hoping for some other good eshop titles on my 3DS over the next few months as per the recent Nintendo Direct - Looking forward to Putty Squad and Shante the most.

unrandomsam

#33

unrandomsam said:

@Hyperstar96 It hasn't got tight controls. It has poor collision detection and lots of the good bits are cut. (Because the controls wouldn't be good enough to do them). Maybe it doesn't use Unity that makes it even worse. Capcom should have used the Megaman 9 engine.

Hyperstar96

#34

Hyperstar96 said:

@Drop-Dead-Fred What kind of demo was it? If it was only the Money Bin stage, that's a tutorial level and is supposed to be easy. And there are four different difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Expert (Expert unlocks after you beat hard). I would assume the demo was Easy or Normal.

Easy: Five heart containers hidden throughout the game (for eight hearts total), each hit only takes half a heart, unlimited lives, there are cakes that give you full health and coins that give temporary invincibility, full map system, level layouts are easier (like the Easy mode in Megaman 9 and 10)
Normal: Five heart containers hidden throughout the game (for eight hearts total), each hit takes one heart (for every difficulty onwards), cakes and coins, three lives (for every difficulty onwards), map system only for areas you've already explored, 10% more money than Easy
Hard: More or less the equivalent to the NES's Hard: Two heart containers hidden throughout the game (for five hearts total; the other hearts are replaced with hidden treasures), no cakes or coins (cakes are, however, replaced with 1-Ups), no map system, 20% more money than Easy
Expert: Same as hard, except Hard Pogo is permanently turned on (down+Y to use pogo instead of just Y), significantly fewer checkpoints, entire game must be completed in one setting (no saving, and Game Over means starting from the beginning), 30% more money than Easy

So yeah, the game definitely gets harder than just the demo.

Hyperstar96

#35

Hyperstar96 said:

@unrandomsam Again, you were probably playing a different game. After all, how could you confuse this for something that could use the engine of something like MM9?

EpicMegaman64

#36

EpicMegaman64 said:

Hmm...I kind of figured this would be the case...I might buy it at retail if it drops to around 15 dollars, though.

WYLD-WOO

#37

WYLD-WOO said:

@Hyperstar96
Nice one for your detailed post back. The 3 hours complete time did also put me off a bit, did`nt realise that there was much more to the game. I played the demo on the XBOX, still not sure on the level of diffculty for that version. This is why I should`nt play demos for games that I knew I`ld like. I remember reading the review on here and thinking it would be a game for me. Will give it go over Christmas, thanks fella.

Mattiator

#38

Mattiator said:

Awww, I'm still seriously tempted though. virt's soundtracks are excellent, I especially loved his work at Orbital Media, particularly Scurge: Hive.

RchUncleSkeleton

#39

RchUncleSkeleton said:

I want to know who let this suckfest out the door, so I can kick them in the balls. If this is what WayForward is producing I won't expect them to be around much longer. The reviews of this game and the new Adventure Time game are coming in and they're not good. They're both tired and uninspired generic ripoffs of other crappy games that are lacking the cleverness and charm of their respective shows. Who was at the helm on these bags of crap and who thought it was a good idea to release these games in this form? Honestly, the free flash games and the android/iOS games are much better and they're not $30. I would be surprised if anyone who worked on these gave a damn about either of the shows.

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