Similarly, the difficulty and level lengths feel a bit uneven. I spent ages battling through the first stage, only to breeze through the next two before being smashed by the fourth. Neither of those things are game-breakers, but a bit more balancing wouldn't have gone amiss.
Uneven though those levels may be, they do serve up a goodly amount of visual variety, as do the enemy types, as do the bosses (which are impressively faithful to their comic book counterparts). Through the first level I worried that the game was going to descend into a dull grind, but subsequent levels proved me wrong.
The game also dares to punish you for dying. You start out with three lives. Once they're gone, you do get the option to continue but you're back on the world map and facing another brawl through the entire level you were on, regardless of how much progress you'd made. The first time that happened (at the very end of a level) I was fuming, but once I knew the score the tension was enjoyable and I was right back in the mental space I used to occupy when I hit tough bosses on the Mega Drive.
The design is, in its fannish way, awesome. It doesn't break a single scrap of ground, lovingly mirroring 8 bit games as it does. But the look is entirely appropriate to the game and its source material. Its look is a straight-up lift from the comics filtered through a NES. As a comics fan I've plunged into far too many games that only seem to pay lip-service to the source material, missing its spirit by a square mile. Firing up Scott Pilgrim
, though, I knew Ubisoft had nailed it a few seconds into the intro. The feel of the whole thing is irreverent, light and straight-up fun.
As well as tackling Ramona's seven evil exes solo, you can do it in multiplayer for up to four. This basically means more enemies and the option to swap health, cash and moral support around. It doesn't add a vast amount to the experience but... well, if you like playing games with your mates you'll probably like playing this with your mates.
Playing Scott Pilgrim is not dissimilar from dusting off your SNES and playing Final Fight. Final Fight's not one of the best comics series of the decade or one of the biggest blockbuster films of the summer though, is it? For fans of the comics the game's an affectionate romp that feels like the world as seen from inside Scott's head. For gamers who get nostalgic for their first console, the game's an affectionate romp that feels like the world as seen through your inner nine-year-old's eyes. For people who are neither of the above, it's still great wholesome fun. It doesn't do anything even slightly new, but it never needed to.
SPOnG Score: 86%
Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game is out on the PS3 right now for £7.99. It will be on XBLA on August 25th.