By the end of World Gone Sour you will have fought a tennis shoe, thrown your allies into deep fryers for points, and watched Method Man rap about Sour Patch Kids and the dangers they pose when left uneaten.
Developed by Beefy Media and Playbrains, World Gone Sour seems like it’d just be a phoned-in game built to advertise candy. Booting up the game brings this into question, as you see Sour Patch Kids scampering across the dimly lit start screen playing with each other one minute and brutally murdering one another the next. It doesn’t take all of the four or five hours of the game to finally realize that World Gone Sour is actually a competent platformer with all the clever art design of a twisted version of Toy Story.
The story, introduced by the first of many well animated cutscenes, follows the tale of a Sour Patch Kid who was dropped in a movie theatre. Candies go insane when they aren’t eaten, apparently, and the nooks and crannies of the everyday human worlds you explore are made sinister by all of the traps and hazards added into the environment by the Sour Patch Kids and other members of the candy community that have gone insane. Usually it’s quite obvious, like yo-yos that crush you or evil pieces of bubble gum that use bottle caps for helmets; sometimes it’s more subtle, like seeing evil Sour Patch Kids torturing their brethren with pencils or trying to saw apart the ledges you use for platforms.
The hazards, be they deep fryers and spilled soda in a concession stand or table saws in a shed, are smartly designed with the progression of your abilities in mind. Safety pins stuck in gum serve as grapple points you can swing from, while popsicle stick barriers are only breakable with a ground pound. The enemies follow suit as well, with the nefarious blobs of bubble gum adopting spiked helmets that you have to knock off by throwing other Sour Patch Kids like bowling balls.
That brings me to my next point, you’ll see a lot of sour patch kids die by the end of this game. Heck, there’s a trophy/achievement tied to sacrificing 1000 of the little Sour Patch Kid candies that rally to your side when you rescue them. The game encourages you to do so, as you get bonus points at the end of each level for having your hapless buddies meet their ends by being melted, crushed, flung into orbit, burned, impaled, chopped up – you get the idea; it’s a bit like playing the Grape Escape board game from the ’90s where it was an every grape for itself run to the finish past saws and rolling pins.
A game about candy may seem like it’s geared towards children, but the T for teen rating ends up feeling partly in tune with the difficulty and not just the comically morbid ends of animate candy people. This difficulty comes from a couple tricky platforming sequences, especially if you want to go for all of the collectibles. The bad part comes from jumping physics that, although competent, never feel quite up to the precision of Mario Bros or the floaty forgiving leaps of Super Meat Boy. Also, the wall jumping feels like it works most of the time, rather than whenever you think it should; there were many times when my co-op buddy and I would leap towards a wall, only to have one of us slide uselessly into a pit of spikes. The game hands out extra lives generously, but this doesn’t make the occasionally finicky precision negligible.
The sound design, like the atmosphere and art design, is effective. The grunts, gasps, and squeaks of the Sour Patch Kids play colorfully overtop the growls of enemy bosses and the searing death rattles that all of the hazards draw out of their victims. The music helps too, with every world having its own catchy meld of hip hop beats and elevator music. No, really, it works. It makes it more of a shame that my [mostly] co-op playthrough saw a few glitches where the music and sound effects cut out for a few seconds.
The sound cutting out only happened two or three times, but the long load times were always a bit out of place. There were times when I was sitting around for 30-45 seconds wondering whether the game had crashed or if the bouncing-Sour Patch Kid loading screen animation was just taking a break.
Technical grievances aside, I was pleasantly surprised with World Gone Sour and I recommend it to anyone looking for a competent platformer with a sadistically comical atmosphere. Also, the end credits are tied in with a music video that has Method Man rapping about candy.
- Good soundtrack
- Clever art design
- Unlockable video where Method Man gets angry and raps about candy
- Funny narration
- Good cutscenes and an overall effective atmosphere
- It costs five bucks
- Some sloppy looking textures
- Wall jumping sometimes doesn’t work
- Long load times
- Two player co-op is local only
Note: The Playstation Network version of World Gone Sour was used for the review and was provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PC and Xbox Live Marketplace