Coming from Ratalaika Games, purveyors of such quality titles as Shadow of Loot Box and Metagal, comes their latest extravaganza, Super Weekend Mode. Developed by Pixelteriyaki this not only has a confusing name but also promises gameplay, and I quote, “centred around 3 buttons”. Playing as a princess, whose belongings have been stolen by “that guy”, the story of Super Weekend Mode doesn’t promise to be super deep, but nevertheless I sallied forth in an attempt to recover what was lost.
On firing Super Weekend Mode on Xbox One up, the visuals that meet the eye are delivered in a cute retro style; all very 8-bit and colourful. Alongside this is some blaring music that requires a trip into the options menu to turn it down, mainly because if you don’t your ears will start to bleed. Once at an acceptable volume, the music again fits the action, and is all very period correct and catchy.
Once you are all sorted, there are a few options that Super Weekend Mode runs with, including three difficulty levels, whether auto fire is turned on (although if it is, the game only uses two buttons, so be warned) and a variety of outfits for the Princess to wear. Each outfit gives different benefits, from faster movement to guaranteed extra lives after the successful completion of a level. So, having chosen the set difficulty and our all-important dress, how does the game play?
Well, strangely, is the answer.
See, Super Weekend Mode sees you controlling two blobs at the bottom of the screen, that, at a push, could be turrets. And from there, the next bit is hard to explain, but bear with me. These turrets can meet in the middle of the screen to shoot whatever baddy is in place on any particular level. The left turret, with a press of LB, can also go to the extreme left of the screen, and the right turret to the right using RB. With me so far? Ok then, from the top of the screen come streams of hearts that you have to catch using the turrets. Now, it took me a while to reprogram my brain to move one turret left and right using LB and vice versa, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to.
And for the first level, that’s all you need to do. Even missing hearts doesn’t have much of an effect, it just means that your catch chain is reset and then away you go again. From level two onwards, things get more difficult. Mixed in amongst the hearts you’ll see skulls, and if they hit the turret it’s one life lost; lose all the lives and it’s game over. In addition to hearts and skulls, bunnies will also fall down, and again catching one is a life lost. You have to slam into the bunnies from the side in order to defeat them. Although avoiding them altogether works just as well…
This then is the pattern for the entire game, all nine levels of it – shoot things, catch things, avoid things. All while utilising two buttons. The actual game is quite good fun, but what kills it for me is in regards the achievements as within 15 minutes, you’ll have 100% to your name. The last achievement is to finish level 3, and then after that any desire to continue playing just evaporates like dew on a sunny day. For achievement hunters, or those looking to boost their Gamerscore, £4.99 for 1000G in return for an investment of 15 minutes makes a purchase of Super Weekend Mode on Xbox One an absolute no-brainer. For regular gamers though – you know, those looking for a challenge and fun in return for their hard earned cash – this is a much harder sell.
While there is fun to be had here, for me it’s missing the X-Factor; that hook that will keep you coming back to play a game even after it’s been beaten. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the game, and I did enjoy what I played, it’s just that once you have “finished” it, there is no need to carry on. At the risk of being cruel, what we have here is just “some game”. Nothing bad, nothing particularly good, no hook; just a few minutes of diversion before realising that you could be outside watching the grass grow.
In conclusion then, whether you should buy this game very much comes down to what kind of gamer you are. Are you desperate for more Gamerscore? Did you play Avatar: The Burning Earth? If so, this game is for you. For the rest of us, I would suggest that Super Weekend Mode is going to be a disappointment, even for the super low price. The best that I can say about this title is that it is okay. Faint praise, I know, but it isn’t worthy of anything more I’m afraid.