The king demands it!
The kingdom of Raskulls is in great peril. Who are the Raskulls, you ask? They're skulls in little gnome bodies. The king is bored and wants a change of scenery, so he tasks his subjects with acquiring magical stones. What do the stones do? I wouldn't know. Yep, there's not much of a story here, but even so, Raskulls manages to be hilarious.
[image1]Raskulls takes a presentation cue from the Paper Mario games. Everything looks flat and characters have thick, black outlined edges and the colors are incredibly saturated. Let's get this out of the way early: Raskulls gave me a glimpse of how good a Paper Mario game would look in HD. It's just gorgeous. Too bad the gameplay doesn't hold up with the visual quality and tone of the game.
The single player portion of Raskulls takes place on an overworld map and each level follows a certain variation of the same core gameplay in Raskulls. The best description of how this game plays would be a mix of Mr. Driller and Mario Kart. You'll have to dig your way through an endless supply of blocks all while racing against a set number of opponents to finish line. There are a few items you can use to defend yourself, all pretty much derivative from Mario Kart and its clones, like fireballs, ghosts, and the ability to steal power-ups from enemies.
Even with the variety of objectives per level, though, the game's shallowness is hard to shake off. The gameplay is extremely limited, and even though it can be fun at the start, it only goes so far. There's hardly any strategy in play here, even in multiplayer. Sure, you can save power-ups for opportune times, but after a few matches both on and offline, you've pretty much seen everything the game has to offer.
[image2]If you're the sort that might stomach this shallow gameplay, though, there's a fair bit of replayability. Most, if not all, of the stages are timed and those times are carried over to online leaderboards where you can battle it out with people on your friends list. There's also a few bonus levels hidden throughout the map that provide much more difficult challenges, mostly against the clock. Each stage you beat gives you a token, and some parts of the map can only be accessed after acquiring a set amount.
In terms of multiplayer, there's a limited number of modes to pick from. Like Mario Kart, you can choose to do a group of stages in succession, as a tournament with up to three other players (or bots), or you pick a specific level to race on. You can pick which Raskull you play as, but all skins play basically the same. Like the single-player portion of the game, it's fun to race against other people, but even with the sly human factor behind the intelligence of on-screen opponents, Raskulls' gameplay isn't stretched out enough.
I really liked the look and humor in Raskulls. I really did. Sadly, there's not a whole lot more to be had here. The single-player portion of the game is super short and I found very little to come back to after I completed the story, bonus levels or not.
It's a fun little game that won't last you too long. Much like this paragraph.