Animal testing is one of those subjects that is bound to charge the shy people among us to suddenly turn red and start shouting what a terrible thing it is. However here is a game that actively portrays animal testing, but this is controlled by the amount of humour.
Games over the last couple of years are getting much more graphic and violent and certainly more extreme titles are appearing with more consistency as there seems to be a market for it.
This game is nowhere near the extreme case but might offend the more timid individual with the subject it is based around so before going any further let’s get a few things out of the way to put your mind at rest.
You control a character called Spanx who is rather electrically charged and his bunny pal Redmond who is chained to him and by this connection this little sidekick becomes a weapon of choice for Spanx to attack enemies and cause all out destruction. This is graphically displayed as you can set Redmond on fire, stick him in a machine that can turn him into a block of ice and even chuck him in the gears of a machine to stop it working. Watch poor Redmond get chewed up as hairs and sparks fly from the machine as it grinds to a halt. Not overly gruesome, in fact quite timid, but animal lovers may want to cuddle their rabbit very soon after playing this game. This is where you will probably love or hate the game and this is at the very start. Although presentation of the game from the off shows that this game is certainly not meant to be taken seriously and the more conservative among us may first find the animal testing humour shocking but will hopefully see the funny side of our new crazy duo that has leapt to Xbox.
Spanx and Redmond are trying to escape from what can only be described as a crazy organisation that has some rather odd ways of testing with animals to make products for consumers. Everything is wacky, such as using monkeys and spinning them around at lightning speed, shooting chickens out of a cannon and also tossing animals down a deep shaft with only a parachute to assist them. This helps them create the ultimate product for the home of which you will see them advertised as you wander around the building. With the aid of a mysterious voice, which might be for all you know a disgruntled employee, you set about releasing all the animals from the testing labs to eventually escape yourself.
Graphically the game is pleasant to look at and the smooth animation and frame rate all help the wonderful insane world you navigate. It is certainly not a marvel or a jaw dropper though, but serves the purpose of the mad hatter like world that is portrayed throughout this loony game. One main annoyance is some of the dodgy camera angles and in odd areas the overly dark segments of a level which when you are searching for items, ladders or buttons makes life very difficult.
As a 3D platform game you can expect the usual ‘jump there climb here’ routine to navigate through the levels, although you can expect some nice little areas to explore and not overly large either making it a little simpler. Puzzle fanatics will enjoy the humour of the challenges that you need to complete before releasing the animals one by one. The instructions can be all over the place at times with a mixture of the mysterious voice following you around the building to the annoying text pop up that tries to explain the situation a little further. After each area you also have these pointless corridors that have red lasers in your path either sitting still which requires a leap or two or the moving ones which require ducking, jumping and the occasional bit of good luck.
If you are interested in looking at the map of the area to aid you even further, press the start button and a computer like display is shown with all sorts of information. This is another sore point of the game. It is overly complicated and certainly not good reference when you are fighting with all the menus and dodgy displays.
Music is something else that plays over and over, with a bass line that repeats more than Korn uses expletives in their lyrics, so obviously a lot! Character voices are all charming and work well and bring life to the rather dull looking experimenters around the areas.
A wonderful loony world with some nice touches, but unfortunately the problems like awkward camera angles, repetitive gameplay and overly complicated help menus all assist in pulling this title away from a thoroughly engrossing title.