The Behemoth studio’s Tom Fulp and Dan Paladin demonstrate their newest meal for cats. BattleBlock Theater is a delectable serving of weird jokes, furry tyrants, and player-created theater plays. This is the essence of the flexibility afforded by developing independent games that experiment with not just audiovisual settings, but also gameplay mechanics.
The entire narrative is told through puppets by a slightly insane narrator. A massive ship carrying closest friends crashes on a remote island, landing everyone in a jail that resembles a theater and is run by weird enormous cats. To the amusement of the furry audience, the torturers compel us to perform their nasty theater productions. BattleBlock Theater is a platformer with beat-em-up components in which we go through intricate mazes, collecting gems along the way to complete the level. Each “play” has three acts and a concluding scene that is a race against the clock.
Individual levels vary depending on whether our performance is played by one or two persons. To uncover all of the hidden treasures and secret tunnels, two players must continually collaborate – sometimes we have to sacrifice ourselves to guarantee that our buddy gets to the prize. Aside from challenges in the form of riddles and platforming puzzles, we also confront additional perils along the path, such as enormous hungry monsters, robots, and battling cats, which make the journey extremely challenging. Each level is a blast. We release imprisoned companions in exchange for the gathered jewels, and each of them has a distinct look. We might take on the role of the liberated buddy and accompany him through the successive labyrinths. Every level also has a secret golden ball of yarn, which is a highly rare commodity on the cat market, and for which the corrupt keys will offer us a random weapon to aid us. So we stockpile grenades, anti-personnel mines, vacuum cleaners, windmills, and golf balls in our pockets.
The crazy storyteller and the kitty audience respond to our behaviors on an individual level all the time and frequently make us laugh with amusing comments. I even discovered a hidden level with the entire background music being an a cappella song performed by the narrator. Theatrical sequences enhance the tale and keep you from being bored for even a second. In the “Arena” mode, four players compete in a variety of games and activities developed by the cats who rule the feline. We may put our abilities to the test in settings like timed races to the finish line, a cat version of the game of tag, or a challenge to color as many surfaces as possible with our colors. There is also a fairly easy map editor that allows you to design your own theatrical play, which you can share with other players – actors – because, as we all know, nothing enhances your mood more than threats from other users given to the author of a level full of homicidal cats and spiked walls.
Whiskas should also be given to the sound design. The melodies are different and appealing, to the point that one of them rapidly became my new phone ringtone. It takes roughly ten hours to finish, which can be prolonged if you wish to put your talents to the test in the encore numbers, which are additional levels that push your limits. A map editor and a variety of multiplayer modes make ten hours of entertainment only the beginning.
BattleBlock Theater is a superbly constructed platform game chock-full of jokes that will have you laughing till the finish. It was well worth the wait, and anyone who believes differently is anti-cat.