The VideoKid isn’t kidding around.
As a hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch is arguably bridging the gap between mobile and console gaming. With this in mind, I introduce to you The VideoKid – an indie runner from Pixel Trip Studios which combines the simplicity of mobile gaming with the traditional controls and aesthetic of a retro console game. With noticeable similarities to popular mobile titles such as Crossy Road and Temple Run, but with a unique and distinct 80s vibe, is it worth a try?
There are two main objectives to The VideoKid: to deliver as many pirated video tapes as you can into your customers’ red mailboxes, and to make it all the way to the park to meet your beloved Jessica on-time. While these may sound like simple tasks, The VideoKid is deceptively difficult, throwing various obstacles and hazards – many of them based on popular 80s culture – into your path that you must out-manoeuvre in order to proceed. One false move can send you flying into a car, or a fire hydrant, or even The Doctor’s parked TARDIS if you’re not careful – and be warned, there is no option to continue once you’re wiped out.
Through repeated play of The VideoKid, you can accumulate cash to spend on in-game costumes and skateboard tricks for your character. Accumulating cash is fairly easy, given that you have a seemingly unlimited amount of video tapes to fling. Examples of said costumes include “The Badass”, “The Poser”, and “The Trickster” – but perhaps my favourite costume of them all is “The Slacker”, which bears striking resemblances to the jeans-and-jacket combo of Back to the Future‘s iconic slacker, Marty McFly. Sadly, the unlock costs of some outfits (I’m looking at you, “Princess-Ra”) and tricks are extortionate, so you’d best be prepared to play the game a lot of times if you want to be able to afford them.
Perhaps some of my more pressing frustrations with The VideoKid, though, are its lack of options menu and noticeable technical difficulties at times. Following the game’s tutorial, where A was introduced as the default “jump” button and B as the default “throw” button, I immediately wished to reverse these controls – but there is no way to do so, and no way to customise your experience of the game beyond the in-game shop. Together with the often noticeable delays in audio rendering and loading times, this lack of options menu makes The VideoKid a frustrating game to play at times – even more so when taking into consideration its difficulty curve.
Overall, though, if you love 80s pop culture, and you’re a fan of the runner genre, then The VideoKid is definitely for you. With plenty of replay value, and posing a strong challenge to anyone who dares to take on the VideoKid mantle, this is a game that you can continue to enjoy even after your first successful run.
Though the game’s faults are self-evident – from its lack of gameplay options, to its technical difficulties and limited unlockables – and there is a definite need for excellent timing (lest you collide with an oncoming hazard, with its horrendous hitbox), The VideoKid is a thoroughly enjoyable indie title, and at only £3.99 / $4.99, is well-worth your investment. Now, just remember… A is to jump, and B is to throw tapes.
The VideoKid, though bearing noticeable similarities to popular mobile titles and with its fair share of faults and issues, is an affordable and entertaining drop-in indie title that you can pick up and play anytime. Challenging, yet charming, and with plenty of nods to 80s pop culture, this is a game that you will be retrying for hours in the hope of reaching your precious Jessica.