From the same development team that brought you the exceedingly popular Castle Crashers comes BattleBlock Theater which employs similar mechanics while being just as wacky in design. Originally for Xbox 360 the game was later released on Steam where it featured the same co-operative focused gameplay.
The story of BattleBlock Theater is told predominately through stick puppets and begins with players boarding the S.S. Friendship which finds itself in a heavy storm and shipwrecked on a strange island. With the crew of the ship being held hostage by the cats that rule the island players are forced to entertain these felines through deadly games and challenges which in turn unlocks extra playable characters. As events unfold the challenges become increasingly difficult, requiring greater team work, strategy and forethought to achieve success.
The primary mode of BattleBlock Theater is the adventure mode which sees solo players or teams of friends overcoming obstacles to reach the exit. Like other party themed co-operative titles the control scheme and challenges of BattleBlock Theater ensures that anyone can pick it up and play straight away with controls orientated around jumping, running and attacking. These simple core controls are then mixed and matched in various ways that across different mini game inspired challenges. The main mechanic you’ll have to overcome in each level though is the different block types and how they interact with you reaching the level exit and obtaining the gems and yarn balls.
Both of these currencies play an important role in your broader BattleBlock Theater with yarn balls the perfect item to bribe your cat captures to improve your potential weapons and gems allowing you to unlock customisable parts. Weapons range from the simple disc frisbee to fireballs, paper airplanes, acid bubbles and a group of utility weapons like the fan and vacuum. Beyond collecting these currencies some level also feature special golden hats that can provide a decent boost to level gems earned although add an extra layer of challenge. Spawning at a random time and random location during a level they’ll float into your field of view with players having to wear and carry it to the level end. Should players die during the level it will fall to the ground which could destroy it depending on the environment or leave it for another co-operative player to pick it up.
In some levels, players can also have a chance to get a golden hat, which pops up in a random location at a random time, and are each worth ten extra gems. However, when the player dies, the golden hat they are carrying will stay at the point they had died (or be destroyed, depending on where it lands) until the player picks it up again.
Actual block challenges within a level include things like sticky walls, spikes, bouncy rocks and collapsing ones which introduce their own challenging considerations. A number of environmental hazards such as water and enemies also show up from time to time that once again require players to jump and dodge through each game map. To ensure the co-operative element is present players will often need to throw each other across wide gaps, lend a helping hand to scale or wall and similar mechanics to conquer the level at hand.
To help let off steam when you’ve had enough of your friends letting you down the game also includes an arena mode for competitive gameplay. With over half a dozen options here it’s a great way to extend the life of the game and have some laughs at the same time after the core co-op adventure. Further gameplay can be obtained through time attack mode and the level editor for those that want to push gameplay hours higher.
- Wacky setting sees you performing for an island of cats in hope of winning your escape through entertainment.
- Master adventure, arena and time attack modes alone or with friends (competitively or co-operatively).
- Plenty of unique block types and hazards to create varied platforming puzzles.
- Collect gems and yarn balls to unlock new customisation options and weapons.
- Hundreds of challenging level designs and layouts with their own strategy and skill requirements.
- Available for play on PC or Xbox consoles.
- Buy Battleblock Theater (Steam)
- Buy Battleblock Theater (Microsoft Store – Xbox 360)
- Buy Battleblock Theater (Microsoft Store – Xbox One)
Review Platform: PC