Developer: Janius Digital
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Disclaimer: This is another title I played for significantly less than the hour minimum I set for myself, but I was impressed enough that I wanted to do a Quick Look anyway.
Unless you’re new here – and if you are, thanks for stopping by – you probably already know that I’m outrageously bad at platforming games. I am also stubborn, and have been known to push through a platformer every now and then if it hooks me for some reason – a great story, or a really interesting gimmick – or if the platforming is more incidental, which usually translates to “not as challenging”.
The gimmick in Scoot Kaboom and the Tomb of Doom is that the entire game takes place on one gigantic screen. You can zoom in (or out) at any time, and most folks are probably going to spend most of their time zoomed in while playing. Still, it’s a neat concept, but I’m terrible at it.
On the upside, you come back from death super fast. Sure, you end up back at the last checkpoint, which may or may not be very far back, but that does bring me to my next point. Modifiers. This game is absolutely dripping with modifiers that mean that people like me, who suck so hard at platforming, can still play this game.
Initially, I turned on only one modifier – more checkpoints. It’s one of four options you can toggle either on or off to make the game easier, with the fourth being full on invincibility. You can also adjust the speed of the tomb as well as the speed of the game overall. Not having a lot of experience with pure platformers, I don’t know how common these types of options are, but I have to say, I absolutely love everything about this.
But as I’ve said – I’m stubborn. No matter how much I already know I probably cannot do this, I feel like I should be able to do this with minimum assistance, and generally speaking, I don’t care for invincibility or “god modes” and I hardly ever use them. I did manage to bumble my way through a fairly significant portion of the map with only additional check points, but it meant there were a lot of neon crime scenes in my way, and my death counter was skyrocketing.
Less than 20 minutes in, I realized the best thing I could do with this game for the purposes of this post was mess around in the modifiers and see if anything short of full immortality was going to make this more playable for a scrub like me. I decided to check off More Checkpoints, Double Jump, and Instant Pickup, and reduce Tomb Speed down to 50%. Now mind you, this still didn’t make the game easy for me, but the difference between More Checkpoints only and most of the modifiers was pretty huge.
I managed to get to the same checkpoint in a little more than half the time, with a little less than half the deaths, and that was with taking the time to find (and navigate) hidden sections to collect four gems instead of just the one I got almost completely by accident. Of course, even turning the speed way down didn’t help with the spots where you need to have precise timing, but for everything else, the increase in playability and decrease in frustration was enormous.
Even being unable to get very far into the game, I probably would have given it a hesitant thumbs up for its cool gimmick, retro soundtrack and 80’s neon vibes for precision platformer fans. However, the modifier system and customizable difficulty turn it into an enthusiastic recommendation, not just for platformer fans, but for people who feel like they’d like to learn platformers. You can start as easy as you need it, and turn the difficulty up incrementally as your skill improves. I think that’s an absolutely fantastic system to draw in players inexperience with a genre of games, and I’m definitely glad I played around with Scoot Kaboom and the Tomb of Doom.
SteamDB estimates that Scoot Kaboom and the Tomb of Doom has sold somewhere between 900 and 2,600 copies on Steam. It’s unfortunate that such a widely accessible title got so little attention, even considering its inclusion in the 2021 Yogscast Jingle Jam (which is how I ended up with a copy). What is fantastic is that every single review is a positive one. It is ranked 751 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.