Switch version tested
Review code provided
Creepy Road makes its way to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in a haze of guns, gore and mayhem. It was originally released back in May 2018 for Steam and Mac and comes to us from our pals in Moscow “GROOVY MILK”. Creepy Road puts you in the shoes of Flint Trucker, who following a road accident finds himself in a world full of ravenous animals and crazed citizens. It’s your job to guide him through classic side-scrolling levels on a quest to find his girlfriend and discover what’s going on.
The first thing that stands out about Creepy Road is the gorgeous visuals, unlike a lot of smaller teams, “GROOVY MILK” didn’t go for the 8-bit retro look but instead opted for a gorgeous hand-drawn graphic style that really stands out. The levels and characters are all very vibrant and wonderfully detailed adding a nice sense of identity that suits the dark comedy vibe that runs through this game. The sound is also spot on, great music and sound effects make this game really pop.
Level design is also very good, each stage felt and looked noticeably different from the one that proceeded it, progressing through woods full of crazed rabbits and unicycle riding bears, onto farm yards filled with cows wielding minigun’s on their udders through to fairgrounds, cities, sewers and beyond. The game design may hearken back to the old school days of left to right progression while blowing away everything that gets in your way, but there is also a level of verticality to some areas. Climbing up big wheels or office blocks to progress across higher ground adds a bit more variety while dealing with the hoards of enemies that want to have you for dinner.
Creepy Road verges on relentless with the number of enemies it throws at you but also provides a slew of weapons ranging from shotguns, assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades and even a ray gun that turns enemies into a steamy pile of poo! These weapons need to be procured in each level meaning you don’t have to worry about stocking up and carrying them through the game, ammo management will be your main concern except for a trusty revolver which remains the default starter weapon in each level with unlimited ammo, all without the use of a bandanna! What an age we live in.
Boss battles also play a big roll in the game, some amusing and memorable designs all of which have quirky dialogue that is entertaining but also self-aware humour gave me a chuckle with nods to classic pop culture icons. The age-old affair of watching out for attack patterns, looking out for openings to exploit weaknesses are the order of the day for taking these giant foes down.
On the surface, this is a good old-fashioned pickup and play affair, but the devil is in the detail. In a generation where challenging games are all the rage allowing for gamers to test not only their skills but also the durability of their controllers, Creepy Road is challenging for the wrong reasons. The main issue being its severe difficulty spike that kicks in pretty much after the first level without allowing the player to adjust as the challenge steadily increases.
The steep difficulty is sadly heightened due to some technical issues that cropped up throughout my play-through. These mainly occurred in the before mentioned vertical sections of levels where I was progressing upwards only to jump up to a platform before the screen catches up to find myself among a hoard of enemies already firing more rounds than Rambo. There were also times where enemies would just pop in from out of nowhere due to the game starting to chug slightly causing me to get overwhelmed by enemies before I could react. Hit detection is also slightly off, if you are too close to an enemy the shot won’t register making blowing enemies away at point blank range with a shotgun oddly impossible. These deaths became more annoying than anything, especially given that there is one checkpoint mid-level per stage and to fight your way through a tough area only to get cheesed by pop up enemies takes the fun out of things quickly making the experience sour into frustration and annoyance.
Overall Creepy Road is a great looking game that clearly knows what it wants to be but just falls a bit short of its potential. “GROOVY MILK” have put so much effort into the art and sound of this game it’s a shame to see it fall short of the mark, hopefully this can be fixed with a patch and make this the game it deserves to be. Worth a try but not at the full price.
TBG Score: 5/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4, X-BOX
Release Date: 01/03/2019
No. of Players: 1
Publisher: GROOVY MILK
Download link: eShop