The difference between a licensed product designed to sell via the magic of marketing synergy and that of a game worth playing is the talent involved. Remember when THQ could be relied on to squeeze out a game based on any random Dreamworks project? PS2 dollar bins across the country are still stuffed with the results. Every once in a very long while you get Treasure’s GBA Astro Boy, or One Piece Pirate Warriors 2, but the stink of licensed gaming is thick enough that any announcement is automatically ignored as an unpleasant background odor. Then it turns out that Radiangames is about to release a Powerpuff Girls game and it’s time to play catch-up.
Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville is a metroidvania action game in which the trio face off against Mojo Jojo. You play as one of the girls at a time, either in their proper original art style or weird new look, flying through Townsville and using a variety of ranged and melee attacks against a host of enemies. Beat the game and a second, harder quest opens up with a new layout. In the announcement blog post the developer references Gunstar Heroes and Defender, which is a gaming mix guaranteed to grab my attention.
As for why this particular bit of licensed gaming stands out over any other random collection of light and noise tied together by a popular character, it’s because Luke Schneider’s Radiangames has been on the verge of a real hit for a while now. The company initially put out a string of games on the Xbox Indie Games channel, back when it was still possible to not get lost in the noise, and the result was a fun little string of arcade games packed with color and action, pretty and abstract but also pleasantly merciless. A few PC conversions and upgrades followed, each improving on the original nicely, and then Radiangames fell off the map for a while. Thankfully the company didn’t get devoured by its brief journey into mobile free-to-play, and has now returned to the hopefully-safer world of PC (and Mac/Linux) with a very different game from the usual output. The enemy concentration in the trailer below may not be quite so thick as in the twin-stick shooters Radiangames cut its teeth on, but with the promise of harder difficulty levels and that second quest, the action in Townsville is bound to get nicely out of hand.