While it may not be Halloween, Savage Halloween gave me a fright as I caught myself a couple of times almost slamming my controller down to my hardwood floor. While playing I found myself feeling nostalgic as I received major Metal Slug vibes with all the platforming, variety of weapon pick-ups, and the bullet hell experience. The question at hand though is whether this title is more of a trick ,or more of a treat.
From the start, while the story is simple and to the point, I did find it to be really silly and charming. Every Halloween night a portal is opened where all the creeps and ghoulies of the night come to Earth to have the best Halloween party ever. However, on this particular Halloween night, Dracula – who is in charge of the party – decides to not travel back to the underworld and wants to keep partying on Earth for eternity. The three protagonists James, a farmer that is a pumpkin, Lulu a werewolf, and Dominika, a vampire don’t take kindly to that idea and do everything they can in order to send everyone home.
You can choose who to be among the three main characters and they all affect your gameplay experience as they all have different stats. The different stats are health, speed, and jump power. After trying levels with all three characters I can clearly feel the difference in the stats as Dominika has a double jump and a hover ability, Lulu has a lot more health than the other two, and James is a balanced overall-type character. The game is a two-player couch co-op title and while I wasn’t able to experience this function first hand I’m almost certain that my brother and I would be constantly screaming at each other over whose fault it was that one of us died.
The weapons you encounter throughout the game were the main reason why I instantly thought of Metal Slug through my playthrough. As you go throughout a level you can shoot open crates that drop a random weapon pickup. Some of my favorite weapons are the exploding chickens that do a ton of damage against bosses, ghosts that ricochet like a boomerang causing double the damage, and frogs that slide and can hit enemies in hard-to-reach places. There are many more including a special ability that is uniquely different for each of the playable characters. The main gripe that I had is that whenever I pick up a new weapon it automatically equips it. It wouldn’t be a problem but you have a limited amount of uses for them. Luckily there’s an option to turn auto equip off in the settings. Each weapon has its usefulness especially in certain boss fights so don’t sleep on any of them.
The enemies themselves are all Halloween-themed and a good majority of them prove themselves to be an annoyance, which is a job well done on their part. Depending on whether you’re playing on normal or hardcore mode some of them can even take you out with one hit. There have even been some sections where it felt like I had multiple attacks coming at me all at once. The platforming in the game is somewhat repetitive as you go throughout the stages and even though I was tempted to just speed run through the sections it was near impossible so I had to endure repeating the same jumps and enemies. If you ever struggle with the enemies you can easily learn their move sets and soon you’ll find yourself to be a monster-slaying pro in no time.
While the soundtrack does fit the 8-bit theme and is catchy at times, I just didn’t feel a majority of them hit the Halloween theme that I believe that they were attempting to. Visually it gives off that old retro style which I adore and it really adds to the charm of the game as a whole.
Savage Halloween caters to those who want a more casual run and gun play style and for those who are eager for a challenge. Regardless of which one you pick you’re guaranteed to receive a treat than a trick with this title.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.