MC Lars: The Video Game (Review)
Going to be honest, just a few weeks ago I had no clue as to what the heck ‘Nerdcore’ music actually was. As I started doing my research, however, I found out that it is a fairly young genre that is populated by a rather large fan base of incredibly welcoming people. Simply put, Wikipedia describes Nerdcore as: “a genre of hip hop music characterized by themes and subject matter considered to be of general interest to nerds.” One of the most long-running and beloved Nerdcore artists goes by the name of MC Lars, and recently a game hit the Steam, Google Play and iTunes marketplace -based on his music- called: MC Lars: The Video Game.
Gameplay: The gameplay is sort of a mix between Jetpack Joyride and Dance Dance Revolution. You play as an awesome 8-bit version of MC Lars, as you are automatically moved forward through the level and it is your job to jump over obstacles and break through barriers in the level to the beat of the music. The game is loosely based on MC Lars’ experience with the music industry through the past many years, meaning that the bad guys in the game are those corporate shill music industry suits, which is an awesome bit of flavor for the game.
In the game, your objective is to complete each song while collecting as many retro video game cartridges as possible. A the end of each level you are given a grade from one to three stars based on the number of points you scored while collecting stuff throughout each level. Stars, over time, unlock alternate costumes for MC Lars. While I love the simplicity of the game, there are just two issues that were pretty frustrating. I have been a drummer for over ten years and I feel a sense of pride when it comes to my ability to stay on a rhythm. There are a few obstacles and bad guys that I would get hit by on each and every play, even though they where totally off the beat, but just enough to cause me to lose my points up until that point. These small inconsistencies in the bad guys being off beat wouldn’t be so bad if the games points were not graded in an all or nothing system.
If you were playing this game, and throughout the course of the level you collected each and every game cartridge flawlessly, and at the very end of the level you hit the very last bad guy, your total score for that level would be a zero. I really wish that the game would have approached the scoring system more similar to Guitar Hero, using percentages. The all or nothing system cause more frustration and anxiety throughout the levels, causing me to not enjoy the music and fun in the background of the scenery as much as I wanted to.
Music: The Hero for me in this game was most definitely the music. The game features 12 MC Lars songs, and I can honestly say that there are some that stick out and are SUPER AWESOME, like “Zombie T-Rex” and “Flow Like Poe.” Honestly, none of the songs in the game were flat out bad. If you are already a huge MC Lars fan, then this is an incredible new way to connect with his music. This is an awesome video game concept that I think other musicians and bands should start doing regularly. The game is on the market for $5, which I think is a little steep for the average phone gamer. I think the $5 price point would absolutely be worth it, if it included a full download of all twelve songs to enjoy as regular downloads or ringtones.
Final Reaction: This game is very niche. The target audience for this game is a subset or an obscure subset, of another obscure subset, of a subset. In other words, to completely get 100% fulfillment of this game, you have to be a gamer (obviously), you have to SPECIFICALLY be a gamer who loves nerdcore, even more SPECIFICALLY you have to be a gamer who loves nerdcore who is also a fan of MC Lars (because honestly not every single nerdcore fan is going to be an MC Lars fan), and once you have the total of people who match those prerequisites, then you have to weed out all the ones who don’t have or want to pay $5. While I had fun with the game, there are just a few gamer mass market and mass enjoyment tweaks that should have been considered. I think Synersteel should NOT give up on this concept, but instead, think bigger. I’d like to see a follow up that includes tracks from even more artists, and a reworked scoring system, leaderboards, and unlockables.
Rating: 3/5 Atoms