28th Dec 2004 | 11:51
A name like Scaler may not conjure up the most pleasant of images; it's a bit too close to scabies, scabby and scaly for our liking, things we generally go out of our way to avoid. So after prolonging our follicular phobias for as long as possible, we got under the skin of this pleasantly entertaining platformer.
Forget the baffling plot (some nonsense about a kid who, whilst being interrogated by an army general commanded by evil dragons, gets zapped with electricity and turns into a bright blue lizard then gets teleported to the Dragon's home world). We told you not to ask. Instead, kick back and just enjoy the chaos.
If the opium-smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland ever designed a game environment, this would definitely be it. Psychedelic clashing colours, giant mushrooms and baddies straight out of Critters 3 all add up to a truly bizarre experience. Central character Scaler's movement is slippier than a greased-up slapper at a foam party, which becomes pretty frustrating when precision jumping over precarious, tricky platforms. Ranged attacks using Scaler's impressively big, erm, Dragonhood mean his thrashing tongue makes smashing your way through the tons of breakable objects an absolute breeze.
Each level provides a decent enough mix of simple puzzle solving and exhilarating zipping around on the handy vines that link each mini-stage. Scaler has the ability to upgrade various attributes, dependant on the amount of those phenomenally useful golden orbs generic to so many platformers. By destroying specific enemies, Scaler also gains the ability to assume their form. Often vital to progress past certain puzzles, this brilliantly keeps gameplay fresh and varied.
Obviously not the most groundbreaking title out there, but a solid title that, with a bit more concentration on the presentation front, could have scaled the heady highs of platformers.