Picture it. You take a single step out of your house one morning and as you do you notice that in the middle of the street is a cat riding a unicycle across a suspended wire ten feet above the ground, while a highly emotive cactus with arms juggles multicoloured balls below. None of that makes a single lick of sense, but you look me in the eyes and tell me that it wouldn’t be marvellous. It’s with this mentality of crazy equals fun that developer Studio Evil has seemingly approached their action RPG, Super Cane Magic Zero: Legend of the Cane Cane. With everything from concept to content being absurd in a wonderful way, Super Cane is a fun and charming meat patty with only a few condiment issues that keep it from being a perfectly delicious burger.
Alright, let’s set the scene. You, wake up in a crater in the land of WOTF, with a cyclops police officer exclaiming to you since you caused a crater you must be either a UFO or a meteor, because that’s just a good use of logic. Once you have had a chat to the officer, you are sent on your way to the nearby Poptarts Academy. At the esteemed campus, an anthropomorphic cake fills you in on the peril that has befallen WOTF, namely the random appearance of meteors and the new threat of monsters and magic all caused by…a dog. This dog, named AAAH, cannot control the powers that he gained ‘for no reason’, so you must set out to find six wizards to help you venture to and save AAAH from himself. Do you follow? Cool just checking that I haven’t lost you amongst the absurdity. The plot is random, pointless and silly, but in the best way possible. Many times throughout the campaign you will be told that you must complete a bizarre task just for the sake of it, rarely making any kind of logical sense. From beginning to end Super Cane throws fantastical situations and characters at you and every one of them is a treat, both literally and figuratively, the Academy is named after a toaster dessert after all.
I mean sure, everyone knows that
Before I talk about anything else I have to mention the audio and visuals. Super Cane has some of the most charming and delightful cartoon visuals I have seen in any game. The entire game feels like a moving, abstract comic book with endless amounts of charisma. Accompanying the awesome visuals is a chip-tune soundtrack that absolutely kicks arse and gets you moving uncontrollably, at least to begin with. The music changes between each major area, but since you spend a lot of time in each locale the repetition of the same track eventually gets on your nerves.
Prior to beginning the game you are given the choice between four characters, each with differing special abilities and attributes. These abilities range from summoning a health rejuvenating donut to my personal favourite, a hot bacon explosion that damages all nearby enemies – that’s just plain brilliant. Over a dozen additional characters are unlocked throughout the game that each have abilities just as ridiculous as the last. Luckily you are able to use these characters as you unlock them simply by selecting them through the menu screen. All of your equipment will transfer between characters, allowing you to experiment with all of the different characters until you find your favourite, or play like a madman and switch between them regularly. I know, I know, if only you could have multiple characters around so that you could benefit from a number of abilities at once, well fear not because Super Cane supports up to four player local co-op, but more on that later I promise, read on.
Traversing this fantasy land won’t be a simple walk in the park of course, you will need to be prepared to get your hands dirty in combat against ferocious enemies such as cute fire-breathing dinosaurs and little vegetable men. They may not sound dangerous but once you have a mob of them around you, you will see. Core gameplay isn’t anything too different, mainly your standard isometric RPG fair—a combination of close-quarters and ranged weapons that are used by aiming with the right stick and used with a button press. Of course just like every other aspect of the game, these weapons and abilities are far from standard. For a large portion of the game my character was sporting a plunger that inflicted thrust damage in one hand and a meteor summoning machine in the other. These weapons that are dropped from enemies have randomly generated stats meaning that I found a shinier plunger along the way and had to have that awkward conversation with my original. It also means that there is always a constant stream of new weapons to try out.
Everything is normal here right?
Something else in your arsenal is the ability to pick up objects and throw them at enemies. There are a huge amount of items that are scattered around that you can pick up and use from bananas that act as boomerangs, glowing cakes that explode on impact and rocks, lots and lots of rocks. While you hold the item above your head you can choose to chuck them or eat them. As you consume whatever you have aloft, your character will give you a happy or sad expression depending on what effect it is about to have. Some items, food mostly, will recover an amount of health or mana, but others, such as bombs and the previously mentioned glowing cakes will either do damage or just straight up kill you, experimentation is key here.
Speaking of keys, puzzles are scattered throughout the game, manly in dungeons that require you to weigh down pressure pads or find a key that matches a pad in order to progress. These are a fairly small part of the game and can be a little tedious, but they don’t get in the way a great deal and some are pretty fun.
Explosive, glowing, pulsating, why does it still look so damn delicious
You can always pick up and throw stunned enemies at walls to inflict major damage as well, which you will want to do to some more than others, particularly ranged enemies that are less challenging and more frustrating. The majority of enemies are a delight in appearance and challenge, but the odd few can be really infuriating.
There are multiple skill trees that unlock progressively throughout the story, giving the player buffs and additional abilities that are fairly varied and helpful. While playing co-op, the unlocks chosen by player one are spread to all other players, similar to the inventory which is also shared. Ah that’s right, co-op, and you though I had forgotten. Drop-in, drop-out co-op is used in Super Cane which fits like a glove in this type of game. Things are frantic enough when playing alone, and adding additional players to the mix amplifies this massively, in both positive and negative ways. The crazy nature of the game makes couch co-op with three friends a blast, my mates and I had a great time running around hacking away at trees with faces and smartphone pot-plants. While general gameplay is incredibly fun with friends, it can occasionally get a bit too chaotic and you can easily lose sight of your own character in the mess of a packed out fight. Even with that gripe, I had an undeniably enjoyable time blasting around WOTF with a couple of pals.
Apparently, this is what happens when your friend eats a GameBoy, I figured it would just cause indigestion
It’s incredibly hard not to smile while playing Super Cane. Whether smiling at your friend stupidly eating a key instead of throwing it to open a door, smiling at dumb and nonsensical dialogue between characters or just smiling at the dorky look of the game itself, I promise that you will be smiling. With so many games tackling strong subject matter, it’s nice to just take a break from the serious and embrace the ridiculous. Sure it’s not perfect, but when it is all said and done I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Super Cane and will head back to the land of WOTF whenever I’m in need of a laugh and a good time.
Reviewed PlayStation 4 Pro | Review code supplied by publisher