Have you ever sat alone on a Saturday evening depressed and sulking at how even your dog seems to be slightly sick of the sight of you when you mind starts to wander; wandering into the strange realm of what ifs? Like, for example, what if someone took Super Smash Brothers, slowed it down and made it star a bunch of scantly clad cartoon women? Apparently someone did, and now thanks to them, we have Pajamorama.
All right, so perhaps that intro is a touch harsh for what is ultimately a pretty simple fighting game that makes an honest attempt to emulate one of my personal all time favorites. It may be best right now to openly state something that may already be obvious to long time readers of CBR, but the original Super Smash Brothers? Yeah, that’s my thing. I don’t just mean I enjoy it; I dominate that game and have for roughly 13 years (officially 13 at the end of April). In those 13 years I have only encountered one person that I can say gave me the beat down in SSB, and in fairness we were playing a version where swigs of liquor were taken with each loss of life. So now that we have addressed my complete inability to look at Pajamorama from an unbiased viewpoint; the game has some ups and downs that lead to an overall okay but lacking experience.
Pajamorama does have a few things working in its favor. Primarily, and the part that is most likely to appeal to the vast majority of the XBLIG demographic (*cough* guys who like boobs *cough), is the visual and audio presentation. By that I mean, “it looks really purdy.” The visuals aren’t quite as crisp as they could be, but they have a nice, simple line almost cut out style to them (think a brighter version of earlier South Park maybe?). The four characters all have distinct looks, the locations get a bit pixilated up close but pop on the screen and the small amount of vocals and other sound effects added to the game all serve the cause nicely.
There is plenty to go ahead and complain about as well (which I will do now, since this is my review and I do what I want). The first thing you’ll probably discover is that there just isn’t a lot of sense to the game menu. Navigating the menu to set up a match isn’t difficult, it is really more… well tedious comes to mind. The biggest annoyance though is that once a match is complete you have to either play the exact same match again or quit all the way back to the start menu and set the game back up (simply allowing us to change levels would have been welcomed). As far as the other annoyances go, it mostly has to deal with setting the four characters and their AI levels. Felt like I was battling and I hadn’t even pressed start yet.
Moving on to the actual game the combat just feels slow and sort of floaty. There are some interesting combos to figure out and there is definitely a version of the game played while button mashing and a version played with purpose, but most attacks just feel like they are in slow motion. Furthermore, the animation effects for when you land an attack often make it difficult to see who in fact is landing the attack. The options for attacking ultimately lack enough variety as well. Like Super Smash Brothers, the object is to knock the opponent off the screen (made easier with a higher percentage of damage), but unlike SSB, there are no grapple moves and very limited jump abilities. On more than one occasion I died because I accidentally walked off an edge and was unable to get back up. Even worse, the cut-off for the top of the screen is incredibly low at some points and more than once while just jumping, I died (like a small child directly under a morbidly obese man jumping, it was sudden and unexpected).
These issues aside, the game offers a lot of what we loved about Super Smash Brothers. Crazy, hectic four way battles between you, some friends and/or some AI. The concept is just ridiculous enough to work as well, never taking itself so seriously that you get annoyed with it (seriously, a bedroom and the Space Shuttle both make appearances as arenas). Pajamorama is eye catching, and a bit of fun (primarily with more than one person to play with), and a very good sign of what may be in the future should Dannobot Games decide to make a sequel, but it lacks the tight, well rounded game-play of its inspiration.
Final Rating: 7/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Time to completion: N/A
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: N/A – Copy furnished by Dannobot Games
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: Doesn’t get any cheaper.
Why you should buy it: It aspires to be like one of the greatest games ever.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: The shame you’ll feel when your girlfriend walks in on you playing it pants-less.