Remember Oregon Trail, that gritty survivalist game that pitted you against the whims of the wild and the entirely-too-harsh reality of settling the American West? The game that featured bear and bandit attacks, blossoming new loves found on vast expanses of grassland, piranha invested rivers and caves full of guns and giant spiders.
Oh, wait. I’m thinking about the indie game Super Amazing Wagon Adventure.
The game comes from Sparsevector, an independent developer out of Seattle Washington. It is available for a sparse $2.99 on http://www.desura.com/ or http://www.gamersgate.com/ or 80 gamer points on Xbox Live. As of yet, I don’t know that it exists for the Mac.
What makes this game worth a couple bucks, said few bits of money or pocket change that could buy you some pretty terrible food and possible loose bowels?
Well, the game is an 2D side-scrolling 8-bit misadventure in a wagon; a wagon full of a party of three (names and appearance chosen by you, or at random) and a lot of hope. And while it is only one player, you and a couple friends can easily get all the kicks you want, piled on the couch handing off the controller after each horrible death of your three-person pioneer party. And trust me, you will die often and in a variety of hilarious ways. We’re not just talking about old fashion dysentery either, the grisly endings range far and wide: trampled by buffalo (normal or fiery), bears playing with your intestinal track like party streamers, gut-shot by bandits, a rending limb-from-limb by mummies.
Did I mention there were mummies? The other bit of this game that is genius and adds to the replay factor is your adventure varies each time, sometimes dependent on choices you make, other times just due to the random happenings that may or may not befall your party. I will not ruin them for you, because half the fun is discovering all the terrible and ludicrous events that can happen in the game. Said events, if finished without death, unlock new wagons that you can use in your adventuring.
Besides the adventure mode, there are two others: survival pits you against various stages unlocked in adventuring game play, and shuffle which throws event after event at you until your party is nothing but chunks of meat spread across the wilderness. Completion, to a certain degree, grants you even more wagons to use in regular game play.
The game’s look is charming and brought a smile to my face, recalling the time spent with my Nintendo, both normal and Super. The music is also catchy, and if you like it you can download it from Sparsevector’s website.
Of all the few dollars that I have been willing and able to pluck from my wallet, none in recent memory have brought me as much joy as the ones I threw at this game. Sure, its short and to some extent repetitious, but what game isn’t? I’ve spent $60 dollars on games I’ve enjoyed less than this.
All I can say is, give it a chance if you haven’t already. If you hate it, you’ll be out a greasy, flaccid cheeseburger next time your in a drive through at 2 in the AM.
Check it out at http://www.sparsevector.com/wagon-adventure/ and see what you think.