Lumbersexuals, rejoice! The arcade sports game you’ve waited for is here!
In December of 2014, The Atlantic boldly proclaimed the lumberjack aesthetic was making a comeback, and with this return to glory emerged the antithesis to the metrosexual: a lumbersexual. While metrosexuals are marked by their attention to personal beauty and attention to details traditionally perceived as less-than-masculine, the lumbersexual spends equal time, effort, and money on his appearance, but striving to emulate the ideals of Paul Bunyan. With the rise of lumberjack culture, of late the country has welcomed axe-throwing bars into its communities, and entrepreneurs are raking in the dough selling beard oil to the proudly bearded men who care to keep the hair soft and supple for their lovers. Visionary video game studio, Mega Cat Studios, has embraced the lumberjack culture, producing a wildly addictive competitive sports arcade game full of axe-throwing mayhem.
Choosing from three modes of gameplay, including a tournament mode where players must climb the ladder, or log as it were, to win the log jamming competition, a quicky mode for a one-off axe-throwing competition, or an online mode, players choose either to compete in an original style of competition or cheerleader. To win the axe-throwing competition, players must balance on a log floating in fluids including clear ocean water, lava in the pits of hell, and even mayonnaise. In original mode, players must maneuver through the fluids, competitors aim to throw an axe past their opponent, scoring either two or five points depending on the region the axe lands in. These competitors are fierce, though, and have no qualms about catching the axe mid-throw, no matter how much force is behind it. Each set is played to eleven points, and the first to three sets wins the match. If this sounds like the kind of quick-paced action that draws players in by saying, “One more,” over and over again until four hours have seamlessly passed by, that’s because that’s exactly how the game plays.
Though cheerleading mode may give the impression of a lighter, more upbeat style of play, choosing this mode is a choice to step up the carnage. Cheerleader mode plays exactly like original mode with the added obstacle of each competitor having four cheerleaders on his or her side of the pond blocking the hurled axes from the endzone. These competitors have a strong desire to win, however, and as a result, the cheerleaders are mowed down one by one until there’s a wide enough opening to begin scoring points. Even while being mowed down, these cheerleaders maintain their pep and positivity in delightfully charming animations that really speak to the charm of the design of this game.
Let’s break this game down a bit further.
Presentation Grade: A
From the first menu, the developer’s vision for this game is realized. With retro 80s-inspired artwork, lines are crisp, colors are vibrant, and it feels like you’re stepping into an arcade of yesteryear. Menus are simple and clear. It’s incredibly obvious where to go for exactly which mode you’re wanting to play, and finding controls is equally simple. The game is incredibly approachable and inviting for players who might not typically find themselves playing an arcade game of this style.
Graphics Grade: A+
Though the concept may seem straightforward and simple, the devil is always in the details. The various levels are immersive and well-developed. Again, the vision for each of these levels is clear and shows follow-through from concept to implementation by the designer. While characters each have a funny backstory, their personalities really come through in sprite design and in their animations and movement. Everything down to the bearded man who emerges from the depths of the swamp, mayo, or pond water depending on the level, transitions happen incredibly smoothly. Everything is well-polished.
Sound Design Grade: B
The sound in this game is very much in keeping with the theme of the game, but it gets repetitive quickly and lacks depth. While what is done is well-executed, the lack of diverse sound effects in actual gameplay is somewhat noticeable.
Gameplay Grade: A-
Gameplay is straightforward, addictive, and fun. It does not take long to learn the mechanics of gameplay, or how to collect and use various powerups that appear on-screen. There are moments in certain matches where it seems like it is easy to lull into a zone of throwing the axe the exact same way each time, scoring points without fail. This ease is not consistent, however, and even computer-controlled opponents do offer a real challenge and diverse styles of gameplay.
Overall Grade: A
Casual gamers should absolutely pick up this title. Fans of retro-style graphics will have blasts of nostalgia wash over them as they work their way through tournament mode with various competitors. It is also a great pick for someone who wants something they can boot up quickly, blow off some steam for about fifteen minutes, and then be able to walk away without getting drawn into an overwhelmingly captivating experience. Discovering unique powerups and each character’s special move, like Bruiser’s power-up where he enlarges himself to a hulking mass making it near-impossible to get an axe past him adds a depth to the game that significant enhances replay value.
It can not be said enough how fun this title is. It is a unique take on an arcade pong-style game, offering lots of charm and well-developed details. Even just taking time to read through the various character bios to learn their motivations for entering the log jammer tournament or enjoying the trash-talk of your chosen competitor as you progress through the tournament ladder makes this game worth having in your collection.
It is also our pleasure at Nerd Jock Blog to be able to offer a giveaway of this uniquely entertaining title. Enter to win a Steam download of this title here. Additionally, a winner will be chosen from someone who retweets and follows the competition tweet at @NerdJockBlog33 on Twitter. Winners will be chosen and notified on Friday, December 21st. Good luck!
By: Dan Burkett