Official Review: Funky Lab Rat
Hydravision has released Funky Lad Rat exclusively on the PSN both in Europe and the US, a very special game in time for the Christmas rush. The story for the game is simple: a lab rat breaks a container thus having access to some miraculous pills which allows said rat to grow super smart while, at the same time, gaining power over time and space in a funky way… or at least that’s what I got after watching the starting cut-scene. This is a physics-based puzzle game, and we all know that a good puzzle game does NOT need a storyline. And a good puzzle game this is.
Here’s the trailer so you can better understand what I’ll be talking about:
All done? Good. Your main objective is to find a way to get from your starting position, let’s call this point A, to the exit doorway, the final point B if you will. While doing this, you can grab some pills that have been scattered across each room, hence our objective C. So to sum it up, the game is as easy as A, B, C. Or A, C, B since you want to get those pills. Well, you get the idea. You need the pills to open up the next world in your patch and it’s a good thing that you don’t need them all to finish the game since some of them will really require that you constantly be “in the Zone” and focus 100% to achieve your goal. Some of the pills, as well as the exit doorway, are covered in small clouds and you must shine a light on them with the Right Analog Stick before you can collect them, adding an extra strategy element to the flowing gameplay.
There is a total of nine main worlds, labeled from 0 to 8, as well as a final XL level (which I really, really liked). If you obtain enough pills, you can even gain access to world 9, an extra set of levels as a thank you for your time and dedication. At first, there are only 8 pills per screen but that number soon increases to 10 and then finally goes all the way up to 15 pills per level, which also increases the difficulty. You can either decide to get to the exit without obtaining many pills in hopes of making up for them on a later level or you could focus on them one at a time until you’ve done a perfect run. Perfect runs are actually what the game requires you to perform for one of the trophies, expecting you to grab all the pills AND getting to the exit doorway without making any mistakes at all.
So, why is it hard to obtain all the pills and make it to the exit? Well, the first couple of levels make it easy for you to figure out a solution, but later on, physics really start to play a huge part in how you must tackle a room. Pressing the Square button for 3 seconds allows you to quickly restart a level in case you’ve made a huge mistake, but you eventually get access to even more time-defying powers. Triangle is used for Zapping, a power that gets you to skip a level and come back to it later so you can still go ahead and try to solve the rest of the game. Circle will be your most used button since it makes time come to a complete stop which in turns grants you the opportunity to move some items around the room for better puzzle solving.
Not everything can be moved, but thankfully, those that can are easy to spot since they really stand out from the others. Finally, you’ve got the X button, your new second best friend. X rewinds time all the way back to the last time you used Circle. Missed a jump by that much? Rewind. Falling block not falling slow enough? Rewind and place it higher. Found your end at a fiery death thanks to all the red-hot panels set oh so near the pills? Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewind.
The graphics in the game are colorful and do their job just right. Won’t win Hydravision any awards but we must always consider that in a puzzle game it’s not always about the flash but about the razzle-dazzle and this game has it in spades. Finally, you can control the game either with the Dualshock or with the Move controller. For the purpose of this review, only the Dualshock 3 configuration was used but it’s nice to see developers offer the option to do so, specially on PSN.
I had a great time playing Funky Lab Rat. Download the demo if you still haven’t made up your mind about it but I highly recommend you add it to your collection since it’s only $9.99 and it will provide you with hours of fun-fun. I would have wanted more XL levels here and there (to work as a boss level even), but as with all games, there’s bound to be some areas that could be improved. That’s what sequels are for!
[review pros=”Fun game that is smooth as silk
Levels are short enough that you can play in small bursts
Price is just right” cons=”Could have used more XL levels
Trophy(Less than 22 stops)
Last Level is Hard as Hell” score=85]
Completed every level in the game (including those in World 9), obtaining a total of 959 pills so far.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Funky Lab Rat provided by Hydravision Entertainment.