Jul 6, 2011

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Lair of the Evildoer Review

Lair of the Evildoer Review

When I’m bored, I love killing some time with a good ol’ videogame. And what videogame makes a better time killer than a nice, old-fashioned twin-stick shooter?  Well, Going Loud Studios has just released a wicked concoction of a twin-stick shooter meshed with RPG elements as well as a roguelike feel. The game is called Lair of the Evildoer. Sounds pretty great, huh? But, as awesome as Lair of the Evildoer may sound, is it really worth your time?

The premise for Lair of the Evildoer is quite simple: escape. You have been created by an evil scientist named Dr. Odious, you are stuck in his lair (hence the title), and you are trying to escape. This is where the game begins. From here on out, you must go through 20 levels of Dr. Odious’s lair, gaining experience by grinding through his waves of minions and gaining new items in the process, which leads me to my first point: upgrading.

The game revolves around your character gaining levels, as well as gaining new weapons, which includes anything from baseball bats to guns, and even unicorns (yes, unicorns). While I definitely enjoyed gaining experience and discovering new items, I felt that this was more of a gimmick to keep me hooked. While this strategy worked, I feel like Going Loud Studios used the leveling and upgrades as an end rather than a means to an end, which can be underwhelming. Although this was a big reason for me to keep playing LotE, the humor in the game is what kept me going as well.

Lair of the Evildoer is riddled with dry humor, from the beginning all the way until the end, which helped make it a fun experience. While playing any twin-stick is usually a good time, sprinkling it with dry humor and random messages definitely made the experience that much better, and also added something a little fresh to the equation.

Another aspect of LotE that I was impressed with was this game’s controls. While it may be very simple to set up a control scheme for a twin-stick shooter, I have found through experience that it is also very easy to mess things up. Going Loud really did well here, though. The controls were quite simple: left thumbstick to move around, the right thumbstick to aim, and the left trigger to shoot and right bumper to melee. It was simple as well as intuitive, which helped make the game experience as smooth as possible, and also helped when I needed to think quickly with hordes of minions heading my way. As impressed as I was with the controls, though, I wasn’t too happy with the aesthetics of Lair of the Evildoer.

My first real quarrel with the game was its graphics. While they weren’t terrible, they certainly weren’t anything to look at. The graphics of the game felt too generic and bland. This made it hard for me to immerse myself into the game. Other aspects that didn’t stand out to me as well included the sound and the music for the game. Once again, there wasn’t anything horrible that stood out with either, but neither one of them gave me anything to brag about. The soundtrack was very bland, and hardly noticeable. I had to backtrack to LotE to remember how the soundtrack even went. The sound effects weren’t anything spectacular either.

The best way to put this game aesthetically is this: I felt like I had hopped onto Firefox and started playing a flash game. Not to say that flash games are necessarily bad (some are incredible), but there is definitely a change of caliber when going from a simple browser game to a console game: a certain expectation needs to be met, and that is something that Lair of the Evildoer simply couldn’t do.

I was very excited to play this game. The trailer made me anticipate some good comedic moments along with a solid gaming experience, and while the game delivered the goods in the comedy portion, it fell short of greatness because of its aesthetics. By the time I was finished with it, I had no urge to play it again. My final consensus is simple: Lair of the Evildoer is an average twin-stick shooter that brings essentially nothing new to the table, and relies on a leveling gimmick to keep the player interested. If you are the type of person who is addicted to a leveling system and upgrading your weapons, then by all means, get this game now. It’s only 80 MSP on XBLA. But for all you other gamers, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend Going Loud Studios’s Lair of the Evildoer.

Lair of the Evildoer
Platform: XBox 360
Genre: Twin-Stick Roguelike
Release Date: 06/17/11
Developer: Going Loud Studios
Publisher: Going Loud Studios
ESRB Rating: NR
MSRP: 80MSP ($1)