|Things get a little, uh, hectic later in the game.|
(Image courtesy of Microsoft)
You'll walk across clouds, push blocks over lethal laser beams, launch yourself into the air by stepping on heated coals, and trigger chain reactions of exploding cubes, all in pursuit of the green gems scattered throughout each stage. You'll need only three to escape the current level, but finding more will improve your grade for the stage and let you buy new characters. There are tons of customization options in Battleblock Theater, and while they don't change the core gameplay much, it's still a lot of fun to swap the hero for a pirate... or a wizard... or a koala... or a blue mushroom armed with a plunger.
The game's only serious flaw is that the fighting should either have been redesigned or removed entirely. Your character, who moves as nimbly as a gazelle when racing across platforms and leaping over spikes, has all the reflexes of a NyQuil addict while in combat. Admittedly, chasing after cats to steal their gems can be a lot of frantic fun, but most of your encounters with felines will end with you luring them into spikes or water, because melee combat is so utterly hopeless.
Fortunately, it's usually not a problem. Eighty percent of the time, you'll be leaping for distant platforms, shimmying up ladders, and stumbling across hidden paths, all while an eccentric announcer comments on your performance. It's simple, satisfying fun in the grand tradition of the NES, illustrating that when the designers at The Behemoth were playing late '80s classics like Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man, they weren't just enjoying themselves... they were taking notes.