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RASKULLS



 
General Description

Raskulls is a 2D platformer developed by Halfbrick and released on Xbox Live Arcade in January 2011. In it players control one of various Raskulls, which are little skeleton people dressed up as knights, dragons, ninjas and more. Players move left and right and jump from platform to platform while using their wands to zap away colored blocks that fill in paths. Many of the levels have up to four Raskulls racing against one another, and the game's multiplayer mode is made up entirely of racing.

The single player campaign has the Raskulls racing against a team of rats called the Pirats to obtain a series of Shiny Stones. Players must choose levels from a world map and move towards boss levels in order to collect the Shiny Stones. Many of these levels are standard racing levels, but the campaign also features a wide range of other game types. Many of these play more like puzzle games, asking players to eliminate a mass of blocks with a limited number of wand zaps or complete a race without letting the speed-boosting Frenzy meter run down.

This interesting mix of genres that adhere to the game's simple mechanics puts one of its strengths in developer creativity. Its combination of racing, puzzle and platforming ideas make it a fascinating mix of challenges.

 
Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
D+ D+
Ratings at a Glance
 
Facts: 0 Title: RASKULLS
Creativity: 6 Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Business: 0 Developer: Halfbrick
People: 1 Year: 2010
Problem: 5 Genre: Platformer
Simulation: 0 Strengths: popularity, creativity
Popularity: 7 Platforms: Xbox Live
Extra: 0  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts

Raskulls is a platform game set in a purely fantasy setting, and contains little in the way of classroom facts.

Creativity & Imagination

By the Player:

Players are constantly challenged to reevaluate their options in each new level. Players always run, jump and zap blocks, but these abilities must be adapted to different goals from stage to stage. Some stages are quick hand-eye challenges, while others want the player to concentrate on more thoughtful puzzle-solving. Players must experiment and adapt to each new challenge as they meet it, and the game does a great job of adding on to each individual type of challenge in subsequent stages.

While there is room to experiment during the campaign, it's generally a "practice makes perfect" kind of thing. The game's multiplayer races allow a little more improvisation as players try to decide how best to slow down their opponents while moving forward from one moment to the next.

By the Developer:

Raskulls is a unique combination of genres, a game that is sometimes puzzle and sometimes racing but always a platformer. Each new level of the game's main quest offers a new way to look at its mechanics, and the meat of the game - racing levels - are always fast-paced fun, particularly in multiplayer matches.

The game has a confident, hard-lined cartoon look, and cutscenes between levels maintain a distinct sense of humor. The art style carries over into the character designs, which are spread over a couple dozen memorable unlockable characters.

The variation in level design and the sense of progression throughout the main campaign are coupled with the game's simple but fun multiplayer races to make up a pretty interesting title. The game is accessible to all ages, but there are plenty of super-challenging stages to be found.

Business Skills

Business skills are not a factor in Raskulls.

People Skills

People skills only really come in during the multiplayer portion of the game, and even here races tend to be frantic enough that luck and knowledge of the course are the most important factors. That said there's still something to be said about being able to read opponents, and knowing the game well enough to predict an opponent's move is likely to lead to victory.

Problem Solving

Problem solving in Raskulls varies from level to level, but generally players must use quick thinking to figure out how best to use their running and zapping skills to meet each challenge. Most stages involve using a Raskull's wand to destroy the large colored blocks that block many paths, and players will quickly learn how to use both their standard attacks and various powerups to meet whatever challenge is at hand. Some stages ask players to complete levels with limited ammo or to carve out specific shapes, and these offer more methodic puzzle-solving than the more plentiful racing levels. However as these ramp up in difficulty they usually become timed challenges as well, asking players to test their puzzle-solving skills as well as their speed.

In multiplayer the focus is exclusively on racing, making for a more frantic experience, especially when four players are in the mix. Many of the levels have interesting tricks to them that inexperienced players will miss, making it an interesting test of skill, while luck constantly plays a part as various powerups are doled out.

Simulation

Raskulls is not a simulation game.

Popularity

Raskulls' unique, creative mechanics and frantic, fast-paced multiplayer modes have been praised in reviews.

Controls & Options

Raskulls contains a few standard audio and visual options. As players complete certain challenges they unlock cheat codes that allow them to customize their characters with mustaches, strange heads and other oddities.

Tips

Raskulls was rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB with descriptors for Crude Humor and Mild Cartoon Violence.