All the way back in 2004, the first volume of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel was released. The story follows a 20-something year old slacker who falls in love with a delivery girl, Ramona Flowers, and in order to date her, he must defeat her seven evil exes.
Scott Pilgrim wasn’t on my radar until the announcement of the movie adaptation, but once I found out about it I was hooked. Then in 2010, the final volume of the graphic novel released. It was amazing. Then the movie released and that too was amazing. Afterwards to top it all off, a video game was released, which was surprisingly good. However, for some reason, in December 2014, the game was delisted from all digital storefronts and was made unavailable to purchase. Thankfully, in the lead up to the movie’s 10th anniversary, the creator of the series, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and the director of the movie, Edgar Wright, tweeted at Ubisoft asking to bring the game back. In response, Ubisoft announced that due to popular demand, the game would make its return and that’s what we’re reviewing today.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game is a side-scrolling beat em up named after the movie, but is based more so on the graphic novels. The game takes heavy influence from classic titles such as Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Up to four players can play as some of the main cast from the series, such as Scott, Ramona, Kim, Stephen, Wallace and Knives and fight their way through the seven levels. Each character has their own skill set and as you battle as each character, you can unlock more moves for them to use.
As previously mentioned, the game is heavily influenced by classic games from the past. The art-style is a mash-up of 16bit graphics (Super Nintendo Era games) and the original graphic novel art style. The overworld (level select) pays clear homage to Super Mario World, and throughout the levels there are references to Legend of Zelda, MegaMan, Street Fighter and many others. The game is a constant nostalgia-fest of my childhood gaming memories.
The soundtrack adds to this feeling even more. The chiptune band, Anamanaguchi, absolutely nails every track in the game, from the overworld theme to the boss battles. Anyone who enjoys chiptune beats will definitely be adding this to their playlist after playing the game.
Gameplay wise, it is no different from typical side scrolling beat em ups. As mentioned previously, there are seven levels, each with a boss or two to fight along the way. There are a variety of enemies to take on, from the costumed characters on the movie set of world 2, to the forest critters of world 6. As far as difficulty goes, like the classics before it, the game can be punishing and frustrating. As you play a certain character, their stats and levels increase, meaning it is possible to get outclassed by some enemies who seem to be a higher level than you. I don’t remember ever having this issue on the original PS3 version, but on the “Complete Edition” on the Switch, it does feel like I am constantly underleveled. (Damn you Lucas Lee!!!)
Outside of the standard story mode, the ‘Complete Edition’ comes with Survival Horror (an endless wave mode), Boss Rush (classic fight all the bosses one after another), Battle Royale (Scott Pilgrim Smash Bros mode) and Dodgeball (a game of dodgeball with the Scott Pilgrim characters). All of these modes are unlocked and ready to play right from the start. Although I didn’t find myself at all interested in these modes apart from maybe Boss Rush just purely from an achievement hunting point of view.
So how did the ten year old game based on a graphic novel fair today? Well one thing for sure is that the soundtrack is still an absolute banger. Gameplay wise? It’s nothing we haven’t seen before but it sure does take you down memory lane. I can see this being a pretty cool party game to play for a couple of hours with the guys. Obviously that might be slightly harder during these COVID times, but thankfully there is an online mode available. For about $20, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game is certainly a game any fan of the graphic novel or movie should own. For those new to the series, I highly recommend watching or reading the source materials first and if you love it, then this game is a great pick up!