by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
A few minutes ago in a city far, far away
Luke Sidewalker is a game about walking along sidewalks in New York, so it would be a decent pun if there was any mention of Star Wars in the game, but there’s not. It’s almost a pun, much like it is almost worth the two bucks you will spend to play it, in the same way that nearly anything is worth two bucks. It’s a game devoid of all but the most basic gameplay mechanics, humour, and design, and it will most likely take me longer to write this review than it took for me to actually finish the seven levels on offer.
Luke Sidewalker is supposed to provide an amusing look at New York and the types of people who live there. A short comic strip gives you the story of each level, with the punchline always being “oh no, I don’t want to go there, that’s where *X stereotype* hangs out!” The following level has you walking along the sidewalk, attempting to avoid people and get to the end in the fastest time possible. You will come up against burly dudes who want to fight you, mothers taking their babies for walks in their prams, rats, hipsters, food delivery guys, and a handful of other types of obstacle.
Some will simply get in your way and hinder your progress, others will actually knock you down or backwards. Twice per level you can say “excuse me,” and people will sort of move out of the way, but not really. You also have a boost meter which is filled up by eating and drinking things people have apparently discarded by the side of the road. There are also vague semblances of puzzles in a couple of the levels to get past certain types of people, but nothing that will keep you stumped for more than a few seconds at a time.
The dark side
I understand there are probably certain types of people in New York who are annoying to passers-by. I get the humour the game is trying to go for. Having never lived there, I don’t find it particularly funny. Maybe it will appeal to New Yorkers, but I have a feeling the lack of humour isn’t geographically exclusive. Each type of person will have their own voice line, and they will blurt it out whenever you walk past them. The game’s only 30 minutes long, but even after 10 you will have heard them all and already be bored of them. To make matters worse, it’s a game about walking in New York and not once did I hear someone yell out: “Ay I’m walkin ‘ere!” The developers can use that one for free in the sequel.
As for the aesthetics and audio, the game features a pixel art style and repetitive character visuals throughout. Every type of person looks the same, and they all say the same thing. The soundtrack is an odd collection of acapella songs which don’t seem to blend with what’s happening on screen at all. It just sounds like the developers had made the music separately at a different time, and then thought “oh we can just use that for the game.”
One positive is that you can walk in dog excrement and people will avoid you for a short time. Not many games make walking in dog poop a good thing, so I applaud it for its originality there. Luke Sidewalker is almost worth that two bucks sitting in your wallet. But you are probably better off using it to buy a terrible hot dog from the stand out on the street.
Stepping in dog poop is beneficial.
Bad gameplay, repetitive visuals and sound, not funny.