Title: Super Amazing Wagon Adventure // Format: XBLIG // Release Date: 07-06-12 // Publisher & Developer: sparsevector // Price: 80 Microsoft Points //Violence: 3/3 // Sex: 2/3 // Mature Content: 3/3
>>> If the creators were to have instead titled this game Super Amazing Wagon, then it'd be perfect solely for the acronym that would come about (S.A.W.). As blocky and pixelated as this game may first appear, it's a visual masterpiece. Okay, okay, so it's no Gran Turismo 5, but Super Amazing Wagon Adventure does a lot with its graphics that serve as a throwback to Oregon Trail and feature quite a range of animations due to the ways in which you dispose of the enemy threat in your path. I had forgotten that 8-bit imitations could feature boat-loads of gore until this bargain of a game came along on the XBox 360. It's only been two days, but Perdition is old news. I may have entered a grandiose love affair with this bloodbath of an adventure.
Super Amazing Wagon Adventure allows you to randomly generate or customize your party of three pioneers who will make their way across the untamed American West. There's no doubt as to the game that S.A.W.A. was parodying, even if, for all of its disturbing dialogue, it could never capture a moment as iconic and unnerving as this:
Still, this action-packed remix of Oregon Trail delivers a memorable set of thrills and chills. Just like in O.T., several events are randomly chosen from two to three possible scenarios. Early in the game you get to make two decisions when navigating your way through (or around) rivers, but ultimately, the challenges you are given boil down to chance.
And I must say, they are quite hilarious while keeping with the spirit of the game. Sure, dark comedy is the elixir that the developers were consuming when they threw in a machine-gunner on a wagon, forced your traveler to battle his or her demons in a psychedelic state, or catapulted your wagon into outer space. What makes these outrageous events even more hilarious is that you may or may not come across them. So when you do, it's unexpected.
The diverse segments are by no means unprecedented. Expect to log in more than your fair share of playthroughs before you reach the end. The AI is both vicious and relentless. The herds of buffalo are especially treacherous as it never seems you can clear enough of them out of the way with the type of ammo you have at your disposal. Because this game is mainly based on chance, you never know when or where you will receive power-ups and unlockable features. It's mainly a guessing game and, ironically, enough to keep you playing over and over. But, granted, the randomly chosen features can also serve to slow down your progression through the overall game. Even so, once you start getting the hang of the programming do you start pressing towards the end. The control scheme is a little arbitrary as you use two different controls to shoot based on your situation. If you're in the wagon, then you press A to shoot, but if you're on foot, then you project bullets in all directions by swinging about your Right Analog stick. Although I see why they did this (the on-foot scenarios are mainly during fixed panels whereas the screen is constantly scrolling during the wagon scenes), this could be a little disruptive when having to make the lightning fast transition between the two types of control schemes when faced with hordes of rabid creatures.
But at the end of the day, it's extremely difficult to not appraise the creators for their sheer talent as programmers. You transition between segments through boxes of dialog (which references the main mode of play in Oregon Tail), and every time a party member dies or your wagon crashes, a dialog screen comes up and references the exact circumstances under which your party was finished off (and there are a lot of circumstances to describe, let alone in the grisly detail that S.A.W.A. uses).
Alongside an incredibly involving Adventure Mode is a nice subset of other modes that allow you to earn three-star ratings. You have a surprisingly deep selection of Survival Modes, as well as a Shuffle in which you play through a remixed compilation of events from Adventure. I do somewhat think it's a bit harsh to make the player unlock all of those modes through a hard-as-nails Adventure that forces you to start all the way from the beginning when everyone in your troupe dies. Yes, it's nice to have those extra modes of play available, but the developers should have at least made one of them available from the get-go.
But the unpredictability of Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is incredibly enjoyable, and it's more than enough to ease the pain of playing through the first few sections of the game over and over again. This might not just be an acceptable re-imagining of Oregon Trail...for some, this title may be better than Oregon Trail! For 80 MS Points, this game may already be the buy of July! It would even be a bargain at 240 Microsoft Points given its extensive content and amazing game play. I hadn't even been able to mention what it's like to battle enemies. It's fast-paced, extremely satisfactory, and gives you more weapons than what Teddy Roosevelt can shake a big stick at. It's a carnal pleasure that only those aged 18 and above should enjoy, but as an Indie Game, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure may very well hold its own among some of the big titles currently on the market.
S&S Rating: 9.2/10
Super Amazing Wagon AdventurePosted on the 08 July 2012 by Sameo452005
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