The Adventures of Shuggy Hands-On

We sink our teeth into this cute and quirky puzzle platformer that's on its way to Xbox Live Arcade.


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There's always a certain charm to 2D puzzle platformers because they not only take you back to a time when things were simpler visually, but they also manage to stump you in those environments. The Adventures of Shuggy revolves around Shuggy, a purple vampire with bulgy blue eyes, batlike ears, sharp-looking fangs, and a big black cape. He's also incredibly cute and has a thing for collecting green gems. All we know at this point is that he inherited a fixer-upper mansion from his uncle, and upon arriving at it, he realizes that there are a lot of things that need fixing.

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As Shuggy, you must collect the green gems in each level to advance to the next stage. Two stages will open up when you complete a level, so if you do get stuck on a particularly tricky one, you can still try to progress via the other stage. The game mechanics vary from level to level, and a tutorial will bring you up to speed whenever you're introduced to something new. Shuggy doesn't seem to do much except jump at this point. In one of the levels, we were able to use the right trigger to rotate the stage in the direction that Shuggy was facing to collect gems that were otherwise out of reach. Spiked flooring and other not-so-friendly monsters inhabit the area, so you have to keep that in mind when rotating.

Another level we played had a timer, where the stage--but not Shuggy--reset itself every 12 seconds. Enemies will move back to their original positions and a clone of Shuggy will appear to mimic the moves you just made, which is needed if there are switches involved because you can't be in two places at once. Your clone will kill you, however, so you need to plan out your route in order to avoid your former, hostile self. A purple line will highlight the direction that your clone is heading to remind you of where it's going, but the level will become more complicated if you take longer to get through it.

We were told that there are a lot of new mechanics in the game's 116 single-player levels, including levels where you need to just run and grab gems as fast as you can. There are also items like potion and cake that will change Shuggy's size. In a rope level, Shuggy was able to grab a never-ending piece of rope from a box and drag it around the screen to loop it around a cog. By pulling the rope to rotate the cogs, the purple vampire could raise the gate to get to the other side.

The game also includes 36 cooperative levels where two players can team up over Xbox Live or on a single console, and there are competitive matches as well. The puzzle platforming genre already appeals to a fairly wide audience, but it's the cute and silly art style, as well as the variety of puzzles, that make The Adventures of Shuggy stand out on its own. Look for the game when it is released this summer.

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