Don’t be fooled by the cutesy name and visuals of Shmubedi Boo – it’s an extremely challenging single screen platformer with incredibly devious level design, not unlike a non-scrolling Super Meat Boy, though far more colourful and kawaii than that game ever was.
The plot – which is largely irrelevant – sees an evil rabbit stealing apples from the inhabitants of Shmubedi Boo. Your job, as one of the odd little characters from a selection of 7 (including a humanoid, partially eaten cookie, ninja frog and an unlockable duck), is to retrieve as many apples as possible and make your way through more than 100 levels to defeat the bosses and return Shmubedi Boo to a state of apple filled normality.
Whichever character you choose – with the only difference between them being their appearances and the sounds they make when they jump – will double jump their way through each stage, avoiding varied obstacles and nasty, albeit cute, creatures. You’ll occasionally come across a shop, in which you can trade collected apples for hats, the aforementioned duck character or extra lives.
And you’ll definitely need those extra lives. The game is quite generous with them, which is a relief; you’ll often find yourself stuck on some levels, which are absolutely evil in their design, losing life after life to the spiky and fiery traps you’ll be determined to get past. It’s absolutely infuriating at times, yet it’s also incredibly addictive and near impossible to put down.
When you lose all of your lives, you’ll fall into purgatory and get the chance to win more chances at the point you lost them – engaging in a wheel of fortune-esque spin with Death as your host. It’s a clever little touch that can sometimes see you back in the game in a much better position, though you’ll still have to overcome the level that beat you in the first place.
Another neat touch is the fact that you can tackle the levels with up to four players at a time, though this can become extremely chaotic and even somewhat competitive.
Shmubedi Boo is pretty appealing from a visual point of view, with simple, clean pixel art making the levels easy to read – despite how much they often have going on at any given time. The soundtrack is a highlight too; it provides a nicely tuneful accompaniment to the proceedings.
Despite its difficulty and intentionally infuriating nature, Shmubedi Boo is an incredibly compelling game; the fact that you’re never that far from reaching the goal on any given stage and every mistake is your fault, rather than the game feeling unfair, gives it a very addictive feel. It features its own achievement system too, which gives a sense of progression outside of simply making your way through the stages. It may not be ‘fun’ in the traditional sense of the word, but the infuriating action found in Shmubedi Boo is difficult to walk away from.
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