My current favorite Cartoon Network animated TV program is Regular Show. While Mordecai and Rigby have been slacking around in games on the Internet and tablets for some time now, this is their first time featured in a console game. In Mordecai and Rigby in 8-bit Land, the two get a package in the mail with a brand new game console inside. But when they plug it in and turn it on, they get sucked in! Now you must help them escape the challenges of an 8-bit 80’s inspired world in this 2-D platform jumping/shooter hybrid.
In the game, you can switch between Mordecai and Rigby at any time. Mordecai can double jump to reach higher places, but Rigby can fit into smaller tight spots. Initially, the only way to defeat enemies is to stomp them from above. But when you get the Mullet power-up, the two don mullets and cut-off jean shorts and gain Death Kwon Do moves. Mordecai can send a flying punch toward long distance enemies, and Rigby uses a laser pen in the same fashion. Plus the power boost also allows them to take an extra hit, but they’ll lose the power-up in the process. Other pickups include dollars, which give you an extra life after every 100 collected, and you can spend them at a mini-game to earn more lives at the end of each round. You can also find extra lives in the stages, and hidden in each level are three golden VHS tapes. Collect enough to unlock concept art and other behind the scene goodies.
In the second world, Mordecai gains an extra power. When you travel in front of a space background, he can turn into a spaceship! In these sections, the game plays like a 2-D shooter, similar to classics like Darius or Gradius (except the screen doesn’t auto-scroll). Rigby gains a power in the third world. When you walk in front of certain wall backgrounds, Rigby turns into Top-Down Rigby and the game transforms into a top-down shooter. It’s similar to Ikari Warriors. It’s a little hard to describe, but it’s kind of like walking on the side of the wall. You can switch back to 2-D jumping Rigby and Mordecai at any time, and you can’t be a spaceship or in top-down mode if the background isn’t correct, so it makes for some interesting platform jumping puzzles sometimes.
The visuals in the game aren’t 8-bit, but they certainly reflect the feel of the cartoon show. Enemies and characters are lifted directly from the program. Only problem is that while the game benefits from the good parts of 8-bit classics, it also carries over the bad parts, too. It’s one of those ‘one hit and you die’ kind of games, so it can get very challenging. Especially since the play control regarding jumping can be a little floaty sometimes, and it’s hard to judge where you are going to land. This makes stomping on enemies a little hard. I’d have to say that ultimately, this is not one of WayForward’s best works. Their Adventure Time game from last year was a bit better. I will say that the Regular Show game has some pretty sweet 8-bit chiptune music, though.
One last thing I wanted to mention is that I love the cover to the instruction booklet for this game. It has the same logo and background as a Sega Master System box, and the mimeograph purple hue is a nice touch. It’s nice to see game companies still put a little extra effort in their printed instruction booklets.
Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-bit Land is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Cartoon Violence. You can stomp, punch, and zap enemies with cartoony guns, but characters just fall off the screen or explode when defeated. If you’re OK with your kids watching the cartoon, they’ll be OK with this game. Reading skill is needed for the text, and younger players may find the game too challenging and frustrating.