I regularly use the columns of TheXboxHub to bemoan gaming naming nomenclature, but #SinucaAttack leaves me at a bit of a crossroads. On one hand, the word ‘Sinuca’ is a clever phonetic spelling of snooker, one of the core themes of the game itself. But then on the other hand, the name as a whole is pandering to social media and those bloody millennials by naming itself the hashtag we would use to talk about the game anyways. Not only that, but my spellchecker really doesn’t like it.
In a tale that sounds weirdly familiar, a deadly virus has taken over the world. A cure has yet to be found for this mysterious V-X20 virus, that has been driving people to do crazy things, like invading your mansion for instance.
As a snooker champion, it is assumed your prize money has meant you can afford such a luxurious pad. And there is an elaborate security system in place for you to reach your bunker and relative safety from the crazies out there.
#SinucaAttack is a 2D platforming game fused with a billiards puzzle game. Your avatar is armed with an oversized snooker cue and must pot ever larger snooker balls into various targets and receptacles to unlock the door at the end of each stage; getting you ever so slightly closer to your safehouse at the same time. Things start quite easily – you may just need to pot a couple of balls or hit a trigger with one of the balls – but as you progress things do start to get trickier.
On certain levels, the white ball comes into play and you need to hit that in the direction of the other balls. Then, in later levels, you gain a jetpack to reach those otherwise inaccessible balls and direct them to their target or have to deal with platforms phasing in and out. You will also need to make sure your mental arithmetic is in order as some levels even require you to add up the numbers on the pool balls to reach a specific number.
That’s right, even for a game called #SinucaAttack, we are using pool balls. And American ones at that too.
There is quickly becoming an over-reliance in video games of the shoulder buttons, and #SinucaAttack is no different. Eventually the control scheme of jumping with the left bumper and holding the right bumper down for shot power begins to make sense, but in the first few levels it is a completely alien setup. Yet I still can’t help but feel things would be a whole lot easier if any of the four face buttons were used for at least one of these activities.
As you progress, the vistas granted to you from your mansion start to decay before your very eyes. #SinucaAttack is a pixel art-style game with a heavy dose of Asian inspiration. Blues, pinks and yellows all decorate the skyline, and you get some decent views out of the windows. The skyscrapers are all standing as you begin the game, but as you progress, windows get smashed and, even worse, the buildings start to crumble into one another.
This continues into the sound of the game. Apart from the introduction that sounds like nails on a chalkboard, the rest of the audio is pretty good. If lo-fi chillhop was a thing back in the 16-bit era, you can bet it would sound something like this.
You do have a few customisation options available to you throughout #SinucaAttack, but these are pretty limited. Your pool cue can be changed to a few different things including a spear, tree branch and a dolphin – amongst a few others – but these are purely cosmetic.
#SinucaAttack does have a trick shot up its sleeve though, and that comes in the form of some ridiculously easy Gamerscore. There are 15 achievements in total and I had unlocked every single one by the 13th level, which only took around 15 minutes to get there. They’re so easy in fact, that they are only split into three different objectives: completing levels, hitting balls and hitting switches with said balls. The latter two are required to progress through the levels, so there really is no challenge. If I wasn’t grateful for the 1000G boost to my Gamerscore, I would argue they are almost making a mockery of the whole Achievements system with just how easy this is.
If you are playing purely for achievements, you will miss the majority of the game out. The levels involving jetpacks and other features only start after you will have unlocked all the achievements.
Whether you want to play #SinucaAttack on Xbox for achievements or for something a bit different, there is a bit of fun to be had. Levels do start to get a bit repetitive but then it will throw a new feature at you that will act as a difficulty spike and a way to keep things fresh. The controls cannot be excused though – there is just no legislating for them. And annoyingly there isn’t a way to reconfigure them either.