Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game Review: Four-Player Fan ServiceS

In Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the hero has to fight his girlfriend's seven evil ex-boyfriends. In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, Scott and his friends have to fight The World.

By the World I mean Ontario, which is the world as far as fans of the six volume graphic novel epic are concerned. Following the storyline of the books more than the movie, this Ubisoft-developed game is an old-school beat-em up, complete with retro graphics and a rockin' chiptune soundtrack. Up to four players can take to the streets of Ontario as Scott, band mates Kim Pine and Stephen Stills, and love interest Ramona Flowers, wiping out everyone who stands in the way of true-ish love.

The Scott Pilgrim books play out like a video game. How does the actual video game play?

Loved

The Best Fighter In Ontario: Played solo, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a passable little retro beat-em up, with a little RPG-style leveling and unlockable special moves thrown in for good measure. It may start off feeling slow and sluggish, but as new moves are unlocked and your stats increase, it begins to grow on you, ultimately delivering an overall satisfying experience.

Fun For The Whole Group Of Lovable Indie Kids: With one or more friends, it's a party. Suddenly you're reviving downed comrades before they lose a life, performing simultaneous taunts to defeat enemies, and lending each other cash to spend on power-ups and equipment. Scott Pilgrim relies on his friends, and Scott Pilgrim: The Game relies on yours to make the experience as entertaining as possible. The only downside is that multiplayer is strictly a local affair, with no support for online play.

Deep Like River City: It's obvious that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game takes more than a few cues from the classic beat-em up River City Ransom. It's got the leveling system. It's got the special moves. It's got stores, both obvious and hidden, where you can by items to upgrade your performance. The game is filled with little hat tips to River City, and it's obvious that this is loving homage instead of blatant aping. The end result is a stylistically simple beat-up that's deeper than you initially expect, and that's a good thing.

The Best Band Since Sex Bob-Omb: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World's music is composed by Anamanaguchi, a chiptune band so skilled at their craft that many of you have actually heard of them. It's the type of music that demands a downloadable soundtrack release. I've got the game on in the other room right now, just so I can listen to it.

Hated

Popping And Locking: Xbox 360 owners waiting for the Xbox Live Arcade release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World might be better off, as the release version of the game for the PlayStation Network has locked up on me at least three times. On two other occasions I found myself stuck when scene transitions failed to kick in, leaving me running around a field devoid of enemies before exiting to the map and starting the level over. Hopefully the bugs will be ironed out by the time the Xbox version comes out.

Taken by itself, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is an entertaining little old-school beat-em up that becomes exponentially more entertaining the more friends you play with, but that's not why many players are going to by this title. No, they'll buy the game because they're fans, which is lovely, because the one thing this game has in spades is fan service. It's chock full of references to characters and events from Bryan Lee O'Malley's six volume graphic novel series. It's also fan service for gamers who loved River City Ransom, with so many nods to that game your neck will get tired.

The only group that might not fully appreciate Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is the Scott Pilgrim fans who've only seen the movie and not read the books. This isn't really an issue, however, as "fans" who've not read the books don't deserve to be entertained.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game was developed and published by Ubisoft for the PlayStation Network on August 10. Retails for $9.99 USD. An Xbox Live Arcade version of the game will be released on August 25. A copy of the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played through entire game on standard difficulty alone, revisiting many of the levels on higher difficulty settings with 1-2 friends.

Confused by our reviews? Read our review FAQ.