The new year is here and with it a whole of host of new games. First up this year is The Video Kid. A love letter from indie developers Pixel Trip Studios to the arcade classic Paper Boy. Packed full of nostalgia and frustration The Video Kid really delivers.
Whether you are a veteran of the retro arcades or new to the genre thanks to the surge in retro indie games, The Video Kid will have you hooked, angry, swearing and ultimately going back for just one more try!!
As you can see from the screen shot above, The Video Kid has a very simple, blocky yet charming aesthetic to it. Sort of Minecraft-esque in a way. It is quaint, colourful and fun.
The graphics really suit the type of game that The Video Kid is. Simple yet deceiving. I truly have a love hate relationship with The Video Kid and that will become apparent as this review continues.
As you would expect from a retro arcade game the controls are incredibly simple. left and right to change lanes and jump. There are tricks in there to be pulled off but I will be honest with you I soon forgot all about them. There was no time to be showboating. My gaming pride was at stake here and damned if I would be beaten.
So the graphics are fine, the controls are easy. So how does The Video Kid play? with extreme malice. That is how. When people talk about retro gaming they often, through the use of rose tinted glasses, gloss over the fact that the games of our childhood that we loved absolutely, undeniably hate us. The Video Kid is no different.
It is quite simple, The Video Kid does not want you to win. It will kill you in silly ways, you will get frustrated which will lead to silly mistakes. These in turn lead to anger, which of course means you just mess uo constsantly, fail, anger your self more and cycle continues.
All this whilst the game sits there looking cute and nostalgic wondering why you don’t like it anymore. Although you know secretly it is laughing at you.
When I say that The Video Kid is difficult I am not over exaggerating. The best I have achieved on this beautiful, evil, game is 88%. Oh that isn’t 88% of the game complete. That is 88% of the first level!!! Yep I am writing a review on a game where I have failed to complete even the first level!
Before people start jumping in the comments and attacking me for being crap. Pixel Trip was kind enough to provide us with 3 codes for The Video Kid. That’s three different people having a crack at this infernal game and the best any of us achieved is 93% through the first level. We have had a total of 11 people try The Video Kid over the holiday period and no one person has been able to complete the first level. We are starting to believe that there isn’t a second level. It has become a thing of mythology in the Stoffel Presents offices.
Putting aside it’s impossible difficulty and mythical levels The Video Kid is packed full of content for such a small and simple game. Each attempt will see you earning money to spend in the store. this can be used to unlock new tricks or new skaters such as the Joker, Cookie Monster, Teen Wolf and more.
On top of the store unlocks the most notable content is the absolute plethora of 80’s & 90’s references. Cars such has the Blues Brothers mobile, Ecto 1, Herbie and more drive down the street in an attempt to run you over. Mutiple characters appear on the pavement such as Big Bird blocking your path, Rigs and Murtoch running and gunning down the street. there is really too many to list here. Although I will say my fiance is adamant that Clarke Kent has a vendetta against her as he always seems to kill her as he runs down the street and rips his shirt open to reveal the iconic S his chest.
Whilst most of the references are benign and its your fault for hitting them, they dont make it easy. Not only is there the constant occurance of “look there’s the Turtles” followed by crashing due to distraction. Some of them are straight up jarring. Once you have met Optimus Prime on a crossroad you will know what I mean.
The Video Kid is a beautiful homage to Paper Boy, the ’80s and retro arcade gaming. It is a fun, pick up and play game that is accessible to anyone and everyone. But you quickly fall into a spiral of anger and self-hatred as you fail time after time.
The Video Kid is best played with friends around as you pass the pad around the room and either laugh at their demise and constant frustration or cheer each other on as you get ever and ever closer to the end of the level.
Priced at the ludicrously cheap £3.69 in the PSN store there really is no excuse to not to buy The Video Kid. Stop reading this review and go buy it now!!