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MASQUERADE: the BAUBLES of DOOM : MDEC / BIG ANT STUDIOS
 This review concerns the Steam media version.

Watch the Trailer:

Poor old Doom has lost his Baubles .......This is a crazy game filled with mask wearing Clowns whose Red Noses it is your sworn duty to collect and use as others may use Gold. It is a romp of mad combat, thumping great hammers and animated cartoon humour. There are a lot of Pro's and only a few little Con's, one of which is the inability to SAVE the game when you are called in for your dinner - you have to reach specific auto-save location points as regular game saves aren't possible - don't you just go GRRRR! when you discover this ? I know I do.

The players are out to gain control of the mystical Druid's balls (baubles, orbs, small round glowy things) and to do this they have to overcome a lot of obstacles and a heck of a lot of fighting. There are three modes of challenging play Easy (my choice of course) where the opponents fall over and generally stay down after 2-3 hits, Medium for regular combat based games players, and Hard which basically means that the opposition is much tougher to eliminate. I played on Easy mode and the only times I managed to kill my champion was by mistimed jumps that meant I fell a long way down and died on impact. I did this multiple times, almost to the point of getting fed up with it, because the sensitivity of my fairly inexpensive Logitech keyboard didn't match the jumping ability of my champion. Basically I played with a keyboard that has a fraction of a second delay between receiving the command and activating it, thus I made my champion run forward and jump but by the time the jump command was activated it was too late.

Playing Masquerade: the Baubles of Doom using my Thrustmaster PC/PS3 hand control set made controlling my champion far easier than using the keyboard so I would recommend players who are playing this on a PC get themselves such a game pad / hand controller. They are available as dual use for PC/XBox 360 or PC/PS3 from the stores where you purchase your hardware and games or you can find your local stockist via Thrustmaster. If you can, get yourself a cordless controller, but if you do, don't let a 2 year old have access to it - my cordless controller was last seen in the "safe" hands of my grandson and has never been seen since; thankfully I also have a corded controller, the lead of which slots nicely into one of the PCs USB apertures.

Masquerade: the Baubles of Doom is an action-adventure set in the fantasy world of The Realm, centered around a battle for the mythical Druid Orbs, the most powerful pair of balls in all the land. Join Jaxx, the wise-cracking jester, and his beautiful enigmatic partner in crime, Comedia. Armed with a map that reveals the secret location of the Orbs, Jaxx and Comedia soon find themselves on the run from the Clown Army. All you have to do is move Jaxx along the arrow marked route. If you are playing on a PC using a keyboard the regular WASD keys are default for movement and the mouse for camera angles - mouse buttons control your attacks and blocks; other keys allow Jaxx to jump and roll etc. Obviously the buttons on a controller can be configured to do the same and in my case at least the controller buttons are just that bit more sensitive than the keyboard.

 This is a real-life photo of me concentrating on not dying again whilst listening through my Thrustmaster Headphones. The sounds are quite impressive and thoroughly absorbing, taking me away to the bright and colourful Realm where the action occurs. 

Both the Clown Army and Jaxx, your champion, carry weapons that befit circus clowns. They are huge, especially Jaxx's "rubber mallet" with which he despatches all and sundry, bringing it down on any prone fallen opponent sending them disspiating into clown cloud heaven with one mighty puff (err, I mean blow). When a clown disspiates it leaves a Red Nose behind which you can collect by moving close to or over it. Similarly you can heal yourself by moving over the floating potion bottles that appear magically almost everytime you need one (at least they do in Easy mode). League. Jaxx and Comedia are wonderful posers and will take adulation whenever they can. A good combination of combat moves or success at even the most simple of puzzles will most likely find your champion posing Cristiano Ronaldo style as if they had just scored the winning goal of the Champions League, though of course these champions are way out of that League (Feel free to think smiley-face or LOL here).

Despite the background often containing wooden boxes and barrels in glorious 3D no amount of hitting them with your gigantic hammer will even dislodge one from atop another let along smash them, though they do wobble in amusing fashion. This is both fun and yet somehow frustrating as I had hoped to find something, no idea what but something, by wacking the bejazzus out of these wooden obstacles. Sometimes though it is best that the crates don't smash or move because they are required as stepping stones to aid you in gaining access to some of the higher roads. Bouncing on cloth verandahs like a trampoline looks like fun, but alas (and in a moment of logic and realism) these verandahs aren't strong enough to allow more than one bounce before they fold and toss you onto the cobble stones below.

If you take away the clown opponents and hero champions, Masquerade: the Baubles of Doom is a regular animated action adventure; with nothing in its gameplay that you haven't encountered many times before. However, because it is presented in such a wonderfully ludicrous manner what could have been a mundane run of the mill game is actually a crazy, jolly romp. This is probably not enough of a difference to make me recommend it to regular players of games of this genre but it is enough to recommend it if you have a penchant for delightfully colourful frolics.

 

 

  Clowning

  Around

  

  Toilet Humour !!!!

  
Nodding Donkeys
 
at the Docks - along with half an army of clowns.

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015