Avatar Rail Panic and ARP Halloween Edition

Sometimes my own policies come back to bite me in the ass.  And I’m not talking about stuff like not being able to turn away a review request.  At least those typically provide me with material to write a fun, rewarding, and catty review.  No, I’m talking about the whole “I can’t play demos” thing.  99.9% of the time, I have no desire to do so, but every once in a while a game will come along that tests my resolve.

I had no problem purchasing ARP Halloween Edition.  New releases have been slow this week, and the premise for this looked interesting, at least to me.  This is one of those auto-running games that’s more about reflex testing than platforming.  Playing as your avatar, you run across the top of a moving train, trying to collect cookies, jump over barrels, avoid barriers, dodge birds, and try to get a high score.

Honestly, the game is okay, but there’s nothing really to it.  It’s actually pretty slow for a game based on reflexes.  You can clearly see all the objects coming and have plenty of time to prepare yourself to hit the right button.  I’m guessing the developers set out to make it more child friendly, and if that was the goal I’ll assume its a successful one.  Anyone over the age of six is likely to find this pretty dull, and without online leaderboards there’s not a whole lot of incentive to keep playing.

Oh, and the birds are a bit of a dick move.  You can’t really predict which way they’re going to fly until you’re close enough to them that you’re likely going to take damage.  The bane of my avatar’s existence was actually the gaps between the trains.  For whatever reason, I usually missed them and would fall between cars and lose a bit of my health.  Thankfully, you can pick up candy that restores it.  It just goes to show that my avatar is nothing like me.  If I fell between cars on a moving train and survived, I would only want candy if it was made of pure morphine.

I was sort of frazzled (great word) about the whole “Halloween Edition” thing.  That meant there was a previous release of ARP that I missed.  As it turns out, the original release came out in April and is called Avatar Rail Panic.  This is where the “not playing demos” thing took a chunk out of my precious behind.  Just looking at the original Avatar Rail Panic, I figured it was the same exact game as the Halloween one, only with a wild west theme to it.  Watching the Youtube video seemed to confirm that.  But, BUT, curiosity did get the better of me and I wanted to try it just to make sure.  The only problem is I’ve clearly stated that I would never play demos here.  And I really do stick to that, so another 80 Microsoft Points were spent and presto, I had the original game.

And yea, the prophecy was fulfilled.  It’s the exact same fucking game.  And I mean that.  Same item placement, same level breaks, and all the same objects, only with a different skin.  Instead of candy, its hamburgers.  Instead of cookies, it’s coins.  Instead of spooky trees, it’s cacti.  Instead of ravens, it’s vultures.  Instead of a money-bag, it’s a.. well actually it’s still a money-bag.  The money-bag opens up a sort of bonus section where you run really fast collecting coins.  It fits the wild west motif, because you could presumably be a bandit robbing a bank train.  Granted, a poorly run bank train that left all its money up on the roof.  Must be from Wells Fargo.

But how does the money bag thing fit in with the Halloween theme?  You mean to tell me that they couldn’t even bother to re-skin all the items?  That’s laziness on a scale that would make the Teamsters union blush with shame.  Show of hands, who here could think of a better object to use as a power-up in a Halloween themed video game in about two seconds?  Let’s see, you in Arkansas, I see you’re saying “Jack-O-Lantern.”  See that, Bedroom Studio guys?  A guy in fucking Arkansas could come up with something better.  And you know what those guys do with their cousins.  Shameful that you couldn’t come up with that.

So that’s Avatar Rail Panic and it’s inbred spinoff.  I can’t really say either game is a complete waste of time, but without online leaderboards, there’s no reason to keep playing.  You can give the demo a try if you wish, and thank your lucky stars that you never told anyone you would never ever play demos, because you’ll likely have as much fun as I did and save two bucks in the process.  Avatar Rail Panic is not horrible, but it’s not compelling enough to warrant a purchase.  Oh, and why the fuck is it called Avatar Rail Panic?   You’re not really running on rails.  You’re running on the thing that’s running on the rails.  Hey, it’s a big difference.  Have you ever tried to actually run on a rail?  I did, and as a result, somewhere in Palo Alto there’s a handrail that I technically had intercourse with, and a bloody imprint of my face about four feet below it.

Avatar Rail Panic and ARP Halloween Edition were developed by Bedroom Studio Entertainment

80 Microsoft Points apiece gave birth to a baby handrail, befuddling doctors nation-wide in the making of this review.

Gameplay footage courtesy of http://Indies.onPause.org

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

One Response to Avatar Rail Panic and ARP Halloween Edition

  1. Craig says:

    If it’s the same exact game but re-skinned, IMO it should’ve been failed and kept form peer review, as that’s considered “gaming the system”(releasing multiple games onto the service, that have few, if any differences between them for extra cash), which is prohibited. That’s XBLIG’s peer review system for ya.

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