Super Amazing Wagon Adventure (Second Chance with the Chick)

Super Amazing Wagon Adventure was a rarity for me on the XBLIG scene. It was one of a very small group of games that I continued to play after I finished reviewing it. Not a lot of time. Maybe a few extra hours, but I couldn’t focus on any other games until I had satisfied my run with Wagon. It happens to me sometimes. I have a term for this: “getting it out of my system.” It’s a term friends, family, and co-workers have come to dread from me. It means my productivity is ground to a screeching halt. Terraria is currently the standard-bearer for this. I reviewed it, hated it, but still felt the need to get it out of my system. Then I realized that I was addicted to it and I had to do a complete 180 and concede that it was something special. I put about ten hours into it before the review went up. Between the time I posted my original review and the time I had to suck it up and admit I was wrong, I put an extra thirty hours into it. And after the second review, I added another fifty or so.

Currently, I’m migrating all my XBLIGs over to PC, and many of them will get a Second Chance with the Chick. Super Amazing Wagon Adventure has the word “Turbo” added to it on the PC build, so I figured I would start with it. I had a few nits to pick in my previous review of it, and I wanted to see if they were addressed.


Under the sea! Under the sea! You'll some how not drown, when the wagon digs down, under the sea!

Under the sea! Under the sea! You’ll some how not drown, when the wagon digs down, under the sea!

Of all the games I’ve enjoyed at Indie Gamer Chick, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is the least fair, and it doesn’t give a shit about it. As you make your way through the game, all the events unfold randomly, and many of them revolve around you just plain losing health. Sometimes the game immediately starts with one of your three characters coming down with some hilarious illness and having three of their four hit points get drained. You get them back if you survive a couple of waves, but there’s a chance that if a single enemy makes it past your defense, that character will die. Right off the bat, with almost no chance of survival. What a dick of a game.

If you think that’s bad, try making it all the way to the end of the game with full health (a rarity) only to be forced to sacrifice one team member or starve to death. This can be avoided if you collect 40 animal hides when this scenario comes up. I talked with a lot of players of the game and all of them determined that anything short of perfect shooting with the correct weapon will fail. Many of the weapons in the game completely annihilate the animals you can hunt, leaving no carcass behind for you to chow down on. That happened to me several times. I got so pissed off that I chose to starve once. I figured I would be left with only one heart per person. No, actually, they all died.

You know, Sparsevector, there’s a fine line between making your game challenging and making players want to burn your house down.

As fun as Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is (and make no mistake, it’s really fun), you never feel any sense of accomplishment when you play it. When literally everything comes down to the whims of fate, how can you feel good about it? If you display any skill, the game will bend you over its knee and introduce you to the paddle of “shit happens.”

Wagon 2

Brian FINALLY presents me a flower, which is what initiates a life-restoring ritual known as “fucking each-other’s brains out.” Oddly enough, my original lineup was myself, Brian, and our friend Bryce. Wagon Bryce and Wagon Brian couldn’t stop fucking each-other, much to the real Brian and Bryce’s chagrin, though we all admitted that Nintendo could learn something from their Super Amazing Wagon Adventure’s Brokeback Mountain moments.

Low on life and counting on the fur trader to sell you some health? Fuck you, all he has for sale is the ability to move your wagon faster. Which you will never ever EVER want. All that does is assure you will take more damage, because you have a big moving target and moving faster means moving more recklessly. Having the best run you’ve made in several attempts? Why, here’s syphilis for your characters and also a pack of wolves chasing them. The wolves are the most appallingly overpowered enemies because they move too fast and if you dodge them, they turn around and bite you in the ass. Have the right default weapon to handle them? It might get jammed, or drunk if you’re using the falcon. Shit like this makes me question if I would be brought up on assault charges if the developer was within chair throwing distance of me. It’s the most infuriating good game I’ve played at Indie Gamer Chick.

And it is fucking awesome.

8+ hours into the PC port (with probably around the same amount of time put into the XBLIG version), and I was still discovering new scenarios I had never encountered before. Train robberies. Caves. Aliens.  I had more wagons and even modes to unlock. And the weird thing is, I actually want to press on. I feel like the love-struck school girl trying to catch the attention of the local bully. So, is it a nice game? No. It blows up bullfrogs with firecrackers and pulls the wings off flies. But I’m downright smitten. I also think the guys at Sparsevector are responsible for a 20% hike in my blood pressure. MY PARTY GOT ANOTHER VD? CAN’T YOU GUYS STOP FUCKING FOR TEN SECONDS?

Wagon logoSuper Amazing Wagon Adventure was developed by Sparsevector
Point of Sale: SteamDesuraXbox Live Indie Games
Ports played for this review: Steam and Xbox Live Indie Games.

IGC_Approved$2.99 preferred the wagon that lets you use the falcon in the making of this review. Even though the falcon had a big drinking problem.

Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is Chick Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.



Super Amazing Wagon Adventure

Update: Super Amazing Wagon Adventure recieved a Second Chance with the Chick to cover the Steam build of the game. Click here for my updated thoughts.

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.

I’m changing my name from Kairi Vice to Kairi Buffokill.

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.

And they said Sputnik was the first thing in orbit. Psssh, historians. What do they know?

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.

Super Amazing Wagon Adventure was developed by Sparsevector
Point of Sale: SteamDesuraXbox Live Indie Games
Port played for this review: Xbox Live Indie Games.

IGC_Approved$1 Died of dysentery in the making of this review.

 Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.  Click here to see where it landed.

Happy Birthday Brian.  I love you with all my heart.

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