Thanks to Skunk Software for the review code
Title: The First Skunk Bundle
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release Date: 09/01/2016
Before we get into the review, it’s important to point out that this is a compilation of five separate games that have not been released individually. Therefore throughout the different sections I’ll give my thoughts on each game and the overall package to express a better point.
Catchy: Taking place in a Pyramid, this game uses 3D models with very slow animations, and the background is pretty boring to look at. The menu feels a bit organized though, making this look better than his other games.
Haunted Hotel: A very dull looking first person adventure game. Lots of darkness, poor textures and a poorly cropped picture of some random creepypasta girl are the nome for this game. There were even moments where I encountered weird things with the visuals, such as a vomiting man throwing up with half his body through a wall, characters changing their position for no explained reason, and movement that caused the framerate to somehow go to under 10 frames per second.
Zombie Epic: A rather dull looking top-down twin stick shooter obsessed with dark lighting, filled with ugly backgrounds and the occasional out of place visual such as a real-world garage roof covering the hand-drawn fence in the northern part of the first level.
Bomb Blaster: By far the best looking of the bundle and any Skunk Software game to date, using bright colors, simplistic menus and generic enemies, giving it a more kid-friendly feel.
Snake Classic: Being the bundle’s “Retro Classic”, it looks like something you’d find on a Game & Watch with monochromatic visuals and not much out of the ordinary.
Overall: Two of the games look abysmal, two of the games look OK and Bomb Blast is the best looking of the bundle. The Main Menu on the other hand is just a simple game select screen with the background being a boring red curtain.
Music and Sound
Catchy: Very little in the terms of sound, with atmospheric music that fits the setting just fine.
Haunted Hotel: Stereotypical horror music with some amusing NPC voice acting here and there. The developers got carried away with a jumpscare clip of a screaming woman, though, as it plays every single time you enter particular rooms to the point that if you wobble around back in forth, it becomes more hilarious than scary.
Zombie Epic: The sound balancing for this game is just awful. The title screen has a music track that doesn’t fit at all, and the story mode starts off with some decent voice acting. For some odd reason, despite being a T rated game the F bomb is used loud and clear multiple times throughout the story mode, something that would normally give a game a M rating. Nothing too terribly wrong, but something that I’m surprised the ESRB overlooked. When it comes to the game itself, expect an incredibly loud sound effect to play when you die, one that doesn’t even fit with the theme of the game! (Said sound effect being the generic “Wah wah waaaaaaaah” used in old comedy shows.) Ironically, the music is rather quiet compared to the sound effects, making it hard to hear.
Bomb Blaster: There’s really not much to comment on except that this game likes to have funky music for whatever reason.
Snake Classic: No music during gameplay to speak of, just a high pitched beep for whenever you collect something, and an even higher pitched sound beep for when you crash.
Overall: All of these games have soundtracks that are either forgettable, bland or non-existent. The main menu theme is just recycled from Piano Teacher, and there’s a really loud beep when pressing the red arrow to exit a game.
Catchy: Out of the five games, Catchy is actually quite fun to play! Being a 3D puzzle game of sorts, you take control of a generic explorer as he goes to grab the Ankh in each stage, finding the level exit while avoiding hazards. Jumping is reminiscent of games like Another World and Prince of Persia in the sense that you have to carefully plan your movements due to the jump always going the same distance, but thankfully ordinary movement doesn’t require such precision. It’s a bit boring, but out of all five of these games, this is actually quite fun after a while and I would recommend it by itself.
Haunted Hotel: A first person exploration game where the main objective is to go to the top of a ten floor hotel. Grab keys to reach the next floor, batteries to recharge your flashlight, find weird NPCs who do nothing but say weird things and suffer torment from the same jumpscare over and over again. It’s a rinse and repeat exploration game with nothing really going for it, and the ending is an absolute joke. Not worth the effort required to beat it.
Zombie Epic: An overhead twin-stick shooter, that doesn’t use the Right Stick properly. Instead of using the stick itself to shoot and aim, it only aims, which you having to hold the back triggers in order to actually fire. The game has a rather mediocre story mode that just ends abruptly once you recruit the other two teammates, as it’ll just take you to the never-ending Survival mode which is basically a high score chaser. Unfortunately, the game goes overboard with the enemy spawns after only a moment or so, as even with the special weapons provided the only possible way you could survive is to rotate the right joystick and fire constantly, but even then you’ll inevitably die. Your death won’t be due to stronger enemies replacing the newer ones, but rather it’ll be because the game spawns so many enemies at once that some of them flicker rapidly, leaving you with little room to shoot and making the game literally impossible after a few moments. Not fun at all.
Bomb Blaster: While the art style and the focus on killing all the green creatures may make you think its just an Angry Birds knockoff, Bomb Blast plays more akin to the physic puzzle games you probably played on flash websites, and there’s really nothing interesting to speak of at all. It looks nice, but is rather boring to play with no real satisfaction gained from unlocking the next set of levels.
Snake Classic: For some baffling reason Skunk Software managed to screw up one of the simplest video games in existence. How so, you may ask? Well for some reason if you turn too fast you’ll go backwards which causes the snake to crash into itself if you even have a single block added to it. The aforementioned sound effects also make this game irritating to play, so you’re better off with the one from Dot Arcade.
Overall: With one and a half good games out of five, the quality of these games are hardly worth the price of admission.
In conclusion, The First Skunk Bundle was really painful for me to play. I’m not even exaggerating on this, it really did make me feel a bit sick. Sick that this game is priced at $25 for what it includes. With the only good game of the five being Catchy, it makes the other four games stand out like a sore thumb with how high the price is. Snake Classic is somehow screwed up, Bomb Blaster is just a generic physics game, Haunted Hotel is a slow, boring slog with no satisfaction, and Zombie Epic is literally impossible after a certain point in time. Just why oh why is this game priced at $25? I can’t get any sort of idea in my head how that would make sense outside of the logic of “Each game costs $5!”, but even that is a dumb idea considering how games like Snake Classic and Zombie Epic aren’t even worth $5 for how little they offer.
I honestly can’t help but feel a bit sad after playing this game, mainly knowing that the developer CAN make a decent game as shown with Catchy, but why bother making every genre under the sun and pricing it so high that only those with money to burn would want to take such a risk? Even if this bundle goes on sale, I just can’t recommend it. The overall value is poor and the only good thing that could come out of this would be if Catchy was released as a standalone eShop game for $2.99 or $3.99, as that seems to have the most potential of the five included in this bundle. I give The First Skunk Bundle a 2 out of 10, with Catchy being the only thing saving this from a 1, and the game not being priced as absurdly as Piano Teacher being what saves this from a zero.