BattleBlock Theater has finally made its way to Steam, giving a whole new group of gamers the chance to experience the charm and challenge of The Behemoth’s wildly popular 2013 Xbox 360 platformer.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, BattleBlock Theater tells the story of the passengers of the shipwrecked S.S. Friendship and their struggle against a group of evil cat captors. Led by your brainwashed friend Hatty Hattington, these menacing cats force players to take part in deadly stage plays for their pleasure, and a chance at freedom… if you can make it out alive.
Each world in Battleblock Theater is split into multiple levels, where players collect gems to free their friends and yarn balls to trade on the black market for weapons (these ARE cats we’re dealing with after all). Local and online multiplayer mode consists of a number of games including basketball, capture the (tofu block-shaped) pony, a battle mode, and more. Since players can use weapons like dart guns, poison bubbles, and fans to help or hinder allies in every mode, each level essentially becomes a battle if you’re playing with friends who love to troll you online.
Aside from the signature art style of Dan Paladin, previously seen in games like Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, what stands out the most in BattleBlock Theater is its over-the-top sense of humor. Everyone in the internet age already knows that cats are jerks, but they might not know the frustration of having a narrator psyche you out as you’re dodging lasers and spike pits while being chased by cats. If BattleBlock Theater’s easy accessibility and many levels don’t keep players coming back for more, its quips and hundreds of unlockable (and tradable) characters will.
Having played BattleBlock Theater since its release day on XBLA, I initially thought it unnecessary to buy what I thought was just a direct port of the game on Steam- but I was pleasantly surprised by the new features added. Instead of smaller feline fiends being the main enemies that impede your progress throughout the game, newly animated cat guards have a bigger presence this time around. Another new wrinkle in the visual presentation of BattleBlock Theater on Steam is the addition of custom player-created prisoner heads. With the simple transfer of an image file to a one of the game’s folders, you can add up to 60 prisoners from the worlds of Marvel, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, FX’s Archer, and anything else the Steam community can come up with. I am beyond excited to see what new characters and creative levels Steam players will think up next.
The other big change to the BattleBlock Theater formula is the ability to select two weapons to use at once. This adds a whole new level of strategy to the action, letting players seamlessly switch between both offensive and defensive weapons on-the-fly with a single button press rather than pausing and navigating through a few screens to swap. Now you can whip grenades at cats (IN GAME) and use giant fans to deflect dodge balls and boomerangs without breaking your stride.
BattleBlock Theater is a platforming game that is easy to pick up and hard to put down. There are tons of collectibles and chances to play with others in either co-op or competitive modes that everyone who didn’t experience it the first time around should give it a try. If you enjoy the side-scrolling challenge of games like New Super Mario Bros. U and Rayman Legends, then you should step out from behind the curtain and take part in the action/comedy adventure that is BattleBlock Theater.
BattleBlock Theater is now available on Steam and Xbox 360.