ORIGINALLY POSTED ON PIXELCHEAT.CO.UK
Fuelled by fond memories of N64-era shooters, Screencheat takes the most hated thing from multiplayer games of the past and makes it the core gameplay mechanic, pitting players to go back on the well known split-screen multiplayer etiquette and use it as their key to victory.
Screencheat takes the simple frustration of another player looking at your screen in a split-screen shooter and makes it a requirement with all players being invisible to one another, making screen cheating the only way to hunt down your opponents. The game’s colourful design makes distinguishing where your enemies are less stressful than it would be otherwise, with each of the game’s levels being cleverly split up into four brightly coloured sections making it simple to figure out where your enemies are at a quick peek of their screen. Whilst being bright and colourful, all of the arenas in Screencheat have unique elements that differentiate them from one another.
The already stressful concept that Screencheat provides is made even more frantic with the variety of weapons that the player can choose from. From the Revolver Rifle, a fast firing gun that can be fired four times before reloading, to the Sörgeån, a boomerang-like mace tool that returns to it’s sender shortly after being fired out and crushes any enemies that it comes into contact with on its journey, the game boasts an arsenal of 10 crazy and fun to use weapons that each bring a unique flare to each encounter. Whenever a shot is fired, the player that fired the shot is visible to other players for a short period of time by a smoke trail left from the barrel of their gun, alternatively if the player is using a melee weapon like the Candelabra, a weapon that really shouldn’t need explaining, a line of flames will be emitted and visible for a brief moment, giving other players a chance to pinpoint their target.
As well as a library of maps and an arsenal of weapons, Screencheat also comes fitted 9 game modes as standard and also gives the ability to customise any of these game with modifiers that make the mayhem even more frantic. A regular game of deathmatch can be made even crazier with options such as Ice Skates, which gives all surfaces ice properties making extremely difficult to stop and aim your shot accurately, and Flappy Jump which gives players the ability to endlessly jump, making everyone a target that’s even harder to hit than they were before, y’know because everyone being invisible wasn’t hard enough.
Funnily enough where Screencheat falls short is within the game modes it provides, or more so due to the lack of prolonged enjoyment with them. As previously mentioned the game comes with 9 standard game modes, each of these modes being a different spin on the traditional modes found within multiplayer shooters.
My First Deathmatch is just a simple game of regular deathmatch where the goal is to get a set number of kills before your any other player does, Hillcampers is your standard king of the hill mode in which players are tasked with standing in and defending a target location for a set amount of time to win, and Capture the Fun, a quirky spin on the ever popular capture the flag mode where the objective is to hold onto a Piñata that shoots confetti out behind the player for as long as possible to earn points.
That’s it as far as the somewhat traditional game modes go, with other modes holding a bit more depth than those previously mentioned.
Murder Mystery is a game mode where each player is given a set of three cards and on those cards they are told the colour of who their target is, how many points they will get for killing that player and, if they want an extra point, what weapon to kill their target with. Whilst this game mode sounds really fun and creative, I found it to be the mode that I grew bored with the quickest. Playing with a party of 3, I frequently found that I would be the target of both other players and that my target would keep being killed in the crossfire, making it frustrating for me to even score a single point.
Another game mode that I had a lot of trouble with was One Shot. One Shot holds the gimmick of each player only being able to fire one shot of the Blunderbuss every 15 seconds, or until every player has fired their shot. Whilst fun in concept, I found that once two of the players have fired their shots it would just be a waiting game with the only player with a shot left attempting to chase down the other players, with the other players running away which really kills off the fast paced action that a silly shooter like this should provide.
Even with the 9 game modes the game provides offering a different level of stupidity but still keeping the game competitive, I found that me and my party would keep switching back to the default deathmatch mode.
Throughout a regular game of Screencheat you’re bound to see a number of silly kill messages depicting how you were killed, anything from being ‘Obama’d’ to being ‘Windows Vista’d’. Even if you’re not that good at the game, a lot of laughs are to be had simply reading these kill messages.
Even though Screencheat offers an online mode, after playing just one game online I made the decision that local multiplayer is where this game really shines as it brought back bright memories of being huddled round a TV with an N64 and a copy of GoldenEye with my friends and family.
Obviously heavily inspired by the classics that set the foundations of this genre, Screencheat just doesn’t feel like it has the long lasting appeal that games like GoldenEye, Mario Kart 64 and Quake do and feels more like a silly throwback to the split-screen classics we all know and love, which isn’t exactly a bad things because this is exactly what the developers, Samurai Punk, set out to do.
Samurai Punk have successfully crafted a fun multiplayer shooter with a clever and unique gimmick, something that hasn’t been seen in the market of first-person shooters in a long time.
If Screencheat sounds like something you’d enjoy, invite a couple of your old friends round and reminisce about times of old when you used to all yell at each other for screen cheating, screen watching, screen peeping or whatever you used to call it and I can guarantee that you’ll secure yourselves a good chunk of fun.