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Bad Caterpillar [XBLA] Review

Posted on March 7, 2013 AT 04:38pm

From time to time you find yourself wanting to play a game from your past, only to discover that you can’t for the life of you find it anywhere. Or even worse, you finally get around to locating it only to see that it’s nothing like what you remember and that nostalgia quickly turns into annoyance. And then there are the reboots, carefully crafted versions of games made to make a title accessible and modern to old and new players a like. Re-imagining a game  is not by any means a new concept, but FunInfused Games takes an interesting spin on Centipede with their Xbox Live Indie Game Bad Caterpillar.

For those of you that remember the classic arcade title Centipede, Bad Caterpillar likely doesn’t need much of an introduction in the way of its concept. But for the sake of keeping things clear and well rounded here’s a little bit of background: You’re the captain of a tiny ship and it’s up to you to stop the insects from invading and taking over the planet! Simple, no?

To start things off players select their Captain. Each Captain has a little bit of a jump their peers. Where one is faster, another may have more bombs which help when those creepy crawlies start closing in. Choose wisely to match your own play style and you’ll get yourself a champion pilot who knows how to take those caterpillars down! Choose poorly and you’ll spend a lot of time cursing that extra speed when all you really need is one more bomb to complete the level. To get to the devilish insects that are cascading from the top of the screen, you first need to shoot through some barriers. A fun twist that this title takes is that each level looks different and often times quite silly from the next. Some levels require you to shoot through crazy mismatched patterns that will aid the caterpillars as they progress towards your ship. But the next level may only have a giant skull plotted out to prevent you from killing your foe, or a simple word, a cat face, you never really know what the next level will hold.

Visually the game looks like something straight out of the golden era of arcade games, so if that’s what you’re looking for Bad Caterpillar will deliver it in spades. The addition of power ups are a welcome change of pace from the title it’s modeled after. The power ups serve to offer different ammo types and bombs which bring a more modern element to the retro feel of the game.

However, the soundtrack of a single looped distorted guitar gets old very quickly. Initially, the heavy musical riff was what made me think that perhaps this game was going to be a far departure from Centipede and other reincarnations of the game. But at the end of the day, it comes across as more of a one trick pony, a great selling point but not practical for long term enjoyment. The leader board is fun if you have others in your home that will be taking a turn at blasting their way through levels, but it lacks a global score board so competitive players may find themselves a bit sad to know they can never compare themselves to the best.

SUMMARY: What Bad Caterpillar brings to the table is an updated view on a game that didn’t need a whole lot of fixing. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad game though, quite the opposite. You know exactly what you’re getting yourself into when you download this indie title. While there aren’t any hidden surprises, there aren’t exactly any hidden disappoints me either. It’s a blissfully neutral game that’s worthy of spending a few Microsoft Points on, even if you only ever play it once in a while to pass the time. Simply put – Bad Caterpillar is great for what it is – an indie game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

  • The Good: Retro indie game that feels both like the original and something totally different.
  • The Bad: Could use an online global leader board to bring up replay value.
  • The Ugly: Soundtrack is great, until you realize it’s one awesome bit of music that’s being looped forever and ever.

SCORE: 6/10

About the Author: Laura has many varied interests outside of video gaming. Other hobbies and areas of obsession include: hiding her Boston accent, singing, Metallica, The Walking Dead, Iron Man, Green Day, The Boondock Saints, tattoos, Pomeranians, and the paranormal. Follow Laura on Twitter: @DN_VampPMS

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