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Superola Champion Edition Review


I forget which one of our talented team of reviewers it was who made an impassioned plea for there to be an end to the current spate of forced running platformers, but it appears that it fell on deaf ears, as another has limped into view. 

Coming from developers Undercoders and published by JanduSoft, can Superola Champion Edition offer anything new to jaded gamers, or are you better off leaving it on the shelf? Well, grab your running shoes, we’re going in. 

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Clearly, in order to explain why we are running nonstop, and why we appear to be a llama called Superola, we need to look to the narrative of the game at hand. And almost straight away you will be sorry that you did, as it is completely nonsensical. 

We are Superola, a llama that loves burgers. I didn’t know llamas were carnivorous, but willing suspension of disbelief and all that. Now, there has been an alien invasion, and not one that features any old aliens, these are Hotdog Aliens! These Hotdog Aliens have taken all the burgers, and so Superola has to go on a quest to get them all back, before they get cold. That would explain why we are running, I guess…

Strangely, there is a second game included in the Superola Champion Edition package, called Alpaca’s Redemption, and this is a little odd, to say the least. We start off at the end of the game, if that makes sense, and we need to make amends for hurting the enemies along the way. We do this by sacrificing the powers that we gained along the way back to the gods. It is as odd as it sounds, to be honest. 

Presentation is an interesting topic for Superola Champion Edition, as we can choose to play with modern graphics, featuring 4K cartoon visuals, or we can choose to play as a retro styled pixel art experience. For a change, I initially went with the modern graphics, and they are pleasant enough, with a fluffy llama running left to right across the screen. The platforms and other enemies are very basic looking, but as the game does move at a fair old pace, it isn’t the end of the world. 

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Alpaca’s Redemption is a different kettle of fish, with only a pixel art style able to be chosen; the screen being somewhat sparse except for platforms and spikes. While it works, it is a little dull looking. 

Sound wise, both games are perfectly adequate, with jolly tunes running through as we run with Superola, and a variety of sound effects all work pretty well. Sound for the Alpaca game is somewhat subdued, with just a nice tip tap sound effect as you move. All told, presentation is not an issue with Superola Champion Edition. 

Gameplay, however, is another matter. I can’t see the point of these endless runner games and having a llama run and occasionally jump or fire a laser out of its mouth (yes, really, but only when he has a reserve of burgers built up, weirdly) just left me cold. To split up the “action” and keep the interest levels up, there are another few different types of event to take part in, all shamelessly stolen from other popular culture touchstones.

 So, for instance, we have to take part in a “destroy the car” mini game, with absolutely no instructions as to what to do. I’ll pass on these top tips: at the top of the screen, when a green blob gets to the middle, press A, and when the blob is red, press B. You’re welcome. Street Fighter II this isn’t. 

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Another feature is boss fights, which takes the form – again – of silly mini games. We have, in the first of the boss fights, to channel our inner Sheldon Cooper and play “Rock Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock”, and this made my son wonder out loud why they had copied the game from one of his favourite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory. I don’t know why, but the boss fight is pretty simple. Even the screen for completing a level of running is stolen wholesale from a Sonic the Hedgehog game, with the eponymous hedgehog crossed out and a llama inserted in his place. 

All in all, while it can be a bit of fun for a short time (say, thirty seconds) the main game of Superola soon outstays its welcome. Not even the promise of many stages and shortcuts to find can extend the life span, I’m afraid. 

Alpaca’s Redemption is also another game that gets tiresome very quickly. Playing as an Alpaca with a series of powers at our disposal, including jumping, dashing, reversing gravity (?) and wall climbing, we are tasked with getting through a series of screens that would appear to be right at home in Super Meat Boy, left to traverse the screen from left to right. Every few screens, we are invited to choose a power to sacrifice to the gods, to make amends for whatever it was we did before the game started. And obviously, the more powers we give up, the harder the screens become. While this is an interesting concept, the execution is poor, with ropy controls spoiling any desire to follow the story through to the end. 

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I don’t think very much of Superola Champion Edition and certainly not enough to put up with the annoying gameplay and stupid premise of jumping and shooting. The era of endless runners is over now, and Superola makes sure it goes out with a whimper. Don’t waste your money is my most honest advice, and certainly don’t encourage other developers to look at this genre and think “We need more of those!”. 

The final nail in the coffin though? Superola Champion Edition is apparently optimised for Xbox Series X|S. And that is a joke in itself. 

Superola Champion Edition is on the Xbox Store

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