It has taken two years but Screencheat has finally arrived on PS4, after previously being released on Steam in 2014. For those that have not heard of Samurai Punks release, Screencheat is a first person party shooter that brings back the fun of split screen multi player madness. One thing I distinctly remember when playing past split screen legends such as Goldeneye 007 on the N64 and Halo on the Xbox is complaining about other players cheating, by looking at your segment of the screen to find your location. “Stop looking at my screen you cheat” was a commonly yelled objection after death. Samurai Punk obviously remembers this too, but instead of disliking the cheating element they have embraced it.
Whether playing Screencheat against friends on the couch or online against other gamers your screen is filled with split screen viewing. The reason is your enemies are actually invisible, the only way to locate them is viewing their screen, or as the title suggests, Screencheat. This is aided by the arenas being divided into quarters, each quarter having its own colour scheme. Death comes via one shot kills, miss the target however and your shot gives a precise indication of where you are, the game is basically locate and shoot.
There are eleven environments or arenas to combat within. These are quite varied and fans are placed having the ability to quickly move into different areas. All of the maps have different levels of height and each are relatively small to ensure that the action is always in abundance. They are quick to learn and you will be hunting down opponents efficiently quite quickly. With skilled players involved each round flashes by, making the game ideal for quick sessions.
Screencheat has ten crazy weapons to use which range from pop guns and a blunderbuss through to a hobby horse and a car engine that shoots energy balls. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages and you will form favourites for each map. There is no character selection, instead as you are invisible, Screencheat only shows your character when killed. Each character is random and unusual, when coupled with rag doll physics for death, unusual weapons and characters and colours such as bright red, purple, brown and blue, the game has a comical charm that is joyous to partake in.
The game modes themselves are a little different and for the most part quite fun. There is the familiar classics: death match, king of the hill (or “Hillcampers”), and Capture the Fun, which replaces the usual flag with a confetti-spraying piñata which gives away your position as you frantically run. Oddities include, One Shot, which prevents reloading until either everyone has fired, or a constantly looping 15-second timer has counted down and Murder Mystery, which assigns each player a target that must be killed with a specific weapon which sounds more fun than it actually is. The variety is nice and things feel fresh enough after hours of playing.
Overall Screencheat accomplishes what it sets out to do, that is be a fast, frantic, goofball multi player. Graphically it is quirky but not pretty, this sums up the game in its entirety. It is fun, with skill and luck playing their parts. The oddness of everything gels together to make a game that is worth your time, especially if you have a bunch of friends, either in house or online that you can laugh along with whilst playing.
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