Retro gaming might not have had 16 player online battles, but many titles did have split-screen multiplayer which was amazing when you had a few friends round.
No matter what there’d always be that one guy who would win the majority of games and that’s because he knew how to Screencheat.
Playing with four players on one screen means you could see what everyone else could see, and mastering the fine art of judging their positioning would give you a strong advantage.
This brings us perfectly to the new release by Samurai Punk called Screencheat, a game that wants you to use that tactic constantly and to ensure you do, it makes everyone invisible so the only ways to locate your enemy is to watch their screen, or hope they fire their weapon.
From the main menu you have the options of local play, matchmaking, host game and time trials as well as options and credits.
Firstly we’ll look at Time Trials where you choose from the 11 maps, and combat dummies and take them down one by one as quickly as possible.
Onto the main adversarial modes, and you can play up to 4 players local, via online matchmaking, or by hosting a lobby which you can choose to make friends only.
The most fun is from playing with friends, especially locally or online when you can all join a party and have a laugh about it, but having the option of matchmaking or even playing against bots which vary from easy to impossible, means there’s plenty of options and speaking of which the same goes for in-game settings, There’s 11 maps ranging from close quarters, and slightly more open areas, as well as physics distorting twists and turns.
To make life easier the map is colour co-ordinated, which helps considerably when trying to fathom your opponents position.
There’s also 9 standard game modes, 8 team modes and a standard and team party mode which randomly selects the mode for each match. Best of all there’s a full custom set-up allowing you to start of with a basic team or solo game, set number of kills and game time from 15 seconds up to literally hours. Choose active weapons, whether they can only be chosen at the start, anytime, or found within weapons crates.
Add to this a massive range of mutators and advanced settings, and you can do anything from making campers appear, turning off weapon trails to make spotting each other even tougher, or maybe setting low gravity or slow-mo kills.
When you do get shot a rag-doll drops to the floor to signal the kill, and there’s a range of rag-dolls to choose from, like many of the mutators these unlock by leveling up your character by points for taking part of a match, with bonuses for kills and winning.
It’s also worth mentioning the range of weapons, these vary from the basic shotgun style blunderbuss and single shot rifle, to exploding bears, harpoon like beams of energy and boomerang balls, my favorite where the basic grenade launcher and the hobby horse, although every seemed to enjoy smacking a candlestick around the back of my head.
There’s a lot of fun to be had within Screencheat and while playing against bots or random online players is great fun, the fun factor went through the roof when online with friends. While you probably wont be wanting to spend all evening every evening on Screencheat, however a quick few hours to lighten the mood makes Screencheat a perfect go to game if you’re looking for a laugh.
Graphically it’s not perfect, but to make the whole concept of the game work, environments that where too detailed simply wouldn’t work, and bright, contrasting colours and recognizable sections make the aesthetics of Screencheat perfect for what is required.
The sound has a similar effect, noting fancy, but the retro inspired arcade beats never feel too repetitive, but certainly wouldn’t need a team of composers.