Wagons and Dragons: Why You Should Be Playing Super Amazing Wagon Adventure
The Xbox Live Indie Marketplace is what it would look like if art galleries took submissions right off the streets. You end up with a lot of things not worth seeing. But, the advantage to that chaotic mess of entry-level work is the occasional gem that manages to surprise you. It’s been awhile since I’ve been surprised, but Sparsevector‘s Super Amazing Wagon Adventure broke the cycle.
If you’re like me – an opinionated, nasty cynic – you are likely not solely swayed by the charm of this retro-renaissance we happen to be in. I get it. Pixelated 8-bit things were part of our childhood and we miss the endearing simplicity. But, not every game that turns back the clock on graphics and sound can recapture that absurdity. Sometimes outdated things are that way for a reason.
Super Amazing Wagon Adventure absolutely shatters my cold demeanor. Just have a listen to some samples from the soundtrack to understand why.
The game itself is an obvious parody of the classic Oregon Trail, though you won’t be rationing out your starting money on meat and grandfather clocks. The game is all action, moving you across the screen to dodge obstacles and blast enemies. It’s all pretty simple, repetitious even, until your attempt to ford a river launches you into space or you’re forced to fire a shotgun into a horde of squirrels.
At one point during my second round, the game seemed to suffer from some sort of error. The buffalo I was shooting turned upside-down and the screen became garbled with gibberish and coding errors. Eventually, the graphics collapsed all together, leaving me in a static-y void of mangled pixels.
Upon death, I was told I had unlocked the Glitch Wagon, a mis-aligned image of the original. You can see it happen here if you’re too much of a miser to actually buy the game. It’s subtle comedy done right.
The game’s pixelated charm manages to rival that of the illustrious Scott Pilgrim game, albeit in an extremely shorter, more digestible form. While the game is only for a single player, I’ve yet played it that way. It must be played with a group around you for the best experience, especially considering the ability to name the players in the wagon. There will be no shortage of friends screaming “HOW DID YOU LET THAT DRAGON KILL ME?.” Super Amazing Wagon Adventure has a handle on its ineffable retro-charm and its an absurd amount of repeatable fun for a single dollar. Seriously. It’s just a dollar. For that many buffalo, that’s a steal.