The hilarity and beauty of Battle Block Theatre

One of my best friends gifted me a cooperative game before he went home for the year so we could at least bond over something while threatening to kill each other over Discord. As you can probably tell by the title of this post, the game is Battle Block Theatre, and it’s a gem. The Behemoth has created a game that is not only f*cking adorable, but also incredibly fun yet stress inducing.

The characters are aboard the S.S. Friendship, and there are hundreds of  them, including Hatty. Hatty was regarded as a best friend to everyone aboard, and everybody adored him. They would sing songs, and the crew were genuinely happy. While aboard the boat, a huge storm rocks them all onto an island, and you (the protagonist) take shelter in a crummy theatre. You realise that the whole crew has been taken hostage by an army of cats, and Hatty has been possessed by a top hat for some reason.

Battle Block Theatre is just like your ordinary comedic co-op game: great game mechanics, art, and characters. However, the game also has a plot, albeit minimal. While the plot and the world building isn’t as fleshy as, say, Borderlands or Diablo, Battle Block Theatre has its own charm even though it mainly centres around a prison island.

I love the originality of the art and art style in this game. Almost all the cut scenes are done entirely in stick puppet style. The graphics are simple and colourful, but all the obstacles and layouts of the different levels don’t crowd the screen. The game has the perfect balance of beauty and chaos, which I find quite fascinating.

The voice acting and music for this game are phenomenal. The narrator never fails to entertain me. I can listen to him tell the story in Battle Block Theatre over and over again. His voice is upbeat and quirky, and he keeps you hooked by adding a slightly posh English accent to his storytelling. As for the OST, I want to purchase a copy of it and import the music onto my phone so I can listen to it over and over again.

This may seem absurd, but I absolutely don’t mind seeing my character die constantly in this game. It is a game where dying isn’t a big deal. It is also a game that you can’t really become really great at, and that’s okay. The most important part of the game is that you have fun interacting with your partner solving levels that become absurdly harder as you two progress.

What does bother me is how complicated the PC controls can be. My friend plays the game with a Xbox 360 controller, while I stick to my laptop keyboard. My fingers can get really cramped and it’s really hard to react well in-game with stiff fingers in awkward positions. If I haven’t played the game in a while, I feel like I have to learn the controls all over again. For a simple co-op game, its controls can drive me up the wall sometimes.

I highly recommend this game, and if you do decide to buy it remember to find a good and hilarious friend to play with as well. I think this game was best designed to be a co-op game. However, if you can’t find someone to play with, there is no shame in playing solo. With that in mind, I will give this game a solid 5/5.