Super Amazing Wagon Adventure
July 8, 2012 7 Comments
Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is alleged to be an Oregon Trail homage. And it is, only you actually have to fight your own battles, there’s blood and gore, intentional humor, and it’s actually fun to play. Okay, so that means it’s absolutely NOTHING like Oregon Trail, but that’s what people are comparing it to. Basically, take everything that made Oregon Trail educational and strip it out. Replace it with sadism and adult situations, and you have Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, a game that is most certainly NOT educational. In fact, I think it might actually make you stupider while you play it. I went from being a reasonably smart person to putting my shoes on the wrong feet and watching Jersey Shore in just a matter of hours. Potent is the derp in this one.
As a game, Wagon has little going for it. It’s part space-shooter (well, minus the space part.. mostly) and part TwickS. Both variations are fairly primitive in their play style, and other than the occasional power-up, this is really as basic as you can get. Calling it Atari-esq would be fair. Where it won me over was with its personality. From the dead-pan descriptions of your frequent failures to the gleeful mass slaughter of indigenous animals, this is a game that revels in its absurdity. But never to the point that it becomes obnoxious, like Torque Quest did. Thus a game that is very fundamental in its design actually becomes something you want to press on with, just to see what crazy shit will happen next.
What’s really cool is Wagon has so many different possible scenarios built into it, all of which are chosen at random. I played it for over two hours and I never once had the same experience. It doesn’t mean they’re all good ones. Sometimes I would start a game and the first thing that would happen was one of the people in my wagon would get some kind of illness and immediately lose all their health but one. Sometimes my wagon would break and I would have to walk to the nearest outpost to fix it, which might be one screen away, or it might be three screens away. Either way, the enemies tend to move faster than your bullets shoot, so you’re pretty fucked. Actually, a lot of the boards tend to overwhelm you with too many enemies, and you’re often not equipped to avoid them. There’s even scenarios where you spawn and are almost immediately fired upon, before you even realize the round has begun. As quirky as Wagon is, it can be pretty brutal as well, and that saps the fun out of it. I probably would have kept playing, but I was so pissed by time I finally beat the damn thing that I didn’t want to see what I missed.
I missed a lot too. Again, over the course of two hours the game never repeated itself in the same way twice. I still had alternative wagons to unlock. I kind of wanted to, because they actually have different abilities. You can ride a dinosaur and hurl eggs at enemies. You can fly a space shuttle that moves quickly. My personal favorite was a wagon pulled by a buffalo where you send a falcon to attack enemies. But, there were a lot of things I missed. And I will continue to miss them. Yes, I had fun playing Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, but sometimes it’s too damn frustrating for its own good. One time I was close to the end, only to lose one member to disease and one member to artistically poor play control brought on alcoholism. This is a game that does not want you to ever be comfortable. You’ll have laughs, but you’ll also gnash your teeth when the game decides you’re doing just a little too good and pulls a dick move. I suppose this is what the settlers went through, which means it actually is educational. Wait, did the settlers really fight off pterodactyls and do mushrooms? Wow. History is way cooler than Little House on the Prairie made it seem.
80 Microsoft Points died of dysentery in the making of this review.
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