Remember the good ol’ days of Goldeneye? Sure you do. But a lot of players felt that the fun was tainted because, well, you can’t stop players from “screen cheating,” or peering over at your current player’s box to figure out their position and ambush them. Aside from setting up an elaborate cardboard system, there was no way around this.
However, Samurai Punk has managed to find a way to make this concept work for the better with Screen Cheat, available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Like Goldeneye, it’s set up as a four-player split-screen experience, where the goal is to get as many frags as you can. However, there’s a diabolical twist that makes things interesting.
Instead of trying to cheat to see where your player positions are, here you actually need to peek at other screens to see where they are. That’s because all the players are invisible and that’s the only real way to detect where they are and land the kill. What follows is sheer wackiness, as you try to stop them while collecting a number of ridiculous weapons along the way.The maps are set up as you’d find them in a routine first-person shooter, with multiple levels and jump pads. However, they’re colored uniquely, so if you think you can’t triangulate a player’s position at first, you’ll soon realize just how much easier it gets.
Plus, the array of weaponry is very cool, although in the traditional sense. For instance, your shotgun is the best bet because of its wide range, although other weapons can deliver a greater punch. Other items are also thrown in for good measure – what a piñata is doing here is beyond me, but it’s hilarious to see it in action. Laser guns, too.
There are also varied modes to play around with, including a cool assassination mode, a coin collecting mode, and even some fresh mystery elements. The game does offer the ability to take on AI bots in single player, but no campaign to speak of. It’s not bad if you want to get some practice in, but sometimes it feels as if they’re working on an unfair advantage, homing in on you much quicker than real players were.
At least the game looks good, with a fast-paced frame rate, decently designed maps and some fun weapon effects. Sometimes you can get a little too trigger happy trying to ping your opponent, but that’s just the general nature of the game. The music’s all right (nothing Goldeneye worthy, obviously), and the sound effects are good, too.
While Screencheat doesn’t really go beyond its limited gimmick in terms of being the next great shooter, it’s a surprisingly enjoyable party game that you and your friends can thoroughly enjoy. It’s more challenging than expected, and the single player isn’t too bad either, provided you can get used to the unruly AI behavior. It’s just neat to see the team at Samurai Punk run with the idea of twisting around Goldeneye’s traditional rules and running with it. How far it goes – and how much havoc you’re looking to reign with a piñata – is up to you.