Free, Friendly, Fabulous: Scarygirl

By Jim Rossignol on April 15th, 2009 at 2:21 pm.


Browser-based, hook-handed platformer Scarygirl has been released (and is currently being crushed by the weight of internet traffic). It turns out to be a highly accomplished, preposterously beautiful little game: it’s a kind of perfect collision between the best children’s books and cream of 16-bit era platform puzzlers. The puzzles are splendidly intricate, it’s full of weird little details and flourishes, and the artwork – by master illustrator Nathan Jurevicius – is simply magnificently colourful and charming throughout. Clearly you must stop reading my blather and go play it without further ado.

, , .

35 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Markoff Chaney says:

    Wow. The site is either getting hammered or my proxy isn’t playing nice (probably the latter). Hopefully this will work better from the house. I’m curious as to their financial support method. I’m guessing ad content, but maybe I’m just to buy one of the little figures from their shop? Can’t wait to try this game out though. The style just oozes … something.

  2. Dominic White says:

    The site is getting hammered. When this first launched early yesterday, I was able to play it (and it’s remarkably hard, and requires some very precise timing on Normal difficuty), and was suitably impressed.

    Now, it’s hard to get to the site at all.

    Tangentially, Hurrah for Flash 10! Were it not for that upgrade a while back, this game would be an unplayable slideshow on anything less than a supercomputer.

  3. cyrenic says:

    Played this yesterday. The art is great, but the controls felt really loose and I had a hard time telling what was background and what was something I could jump on. So I didn’t play it very long.

  4. PC Monster says:

    Wonderful. Just wonderful. The theme tune on the first level is now firmly jammed in my head…and I’ve only been playing it for 15 minutes!

  5. Ian says:

    I got it to load the first room and then went up the ladder and it stuck at 30%. Methinks I’ll try again later.

  6. Saul says:

    That’s possibly the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen in a browser. Controls are a bit sticky, but whatever. Yum!

  7. sbs says:

    Oooooh, pretty!

  8. Lobotomist says:

    Awesome…

    And its free ! How come ?

  9. Zyrxil says:

    The art style and creature design is fantastic. The gameplay…old, dated, not so much fun.

  10. Jubaal says:

    It certainly is beautifully put together. My two main improvement suggestions would be to make it easier to work out what you can stand/jump on (As mentioned above) and remappable controls. The “A”, “S” & “D” keys for “action”, “spin” and “jump” just don’t feel natural.

    Other than that a pleasurable experience.

  11. bobince says:

    Man! Such beautiful, rich presentation! And yet, at heart it’s still a fairly mediocre platform game (with slightly wonky slidey controls and large stretches between save points).

    I don’t know whether to wow or meh. I’ll compromise with a ‘weh’.

  12. TwistyMcNoggins says:

    Nice face, shame about the personality.

  13. Lewis says:

    It’s very pretty. I like the abstractness of the “conversations.” Unfortunately the site went apeshit on level 2 so I’ll have to come back later.

  14. ForTheLulz says:

    Can’t get past the terrible controls. And I really wanted to like this. :(

  15. Dominic White says:

    I’m trying to figure out whether there’s something wrong with everyone elses computers, or whether I’m just some kind of omnipotent god of gaming (I’m not), because I really am having no trouble with the controls. The arrows + ASD layout is one of the most common out there, second only to arrows + ZXC, so that can’t be the issue.

    ‘Floaty controls’ seems to be the new buzzword for ‘I am not good at this game’.

  16. Dave says:

    The arrows + ASD layout is one of the most common out there, second only to arrows + ZXC, so that can’t be the issue.

    Okay, name one other game released in the past five years that uses arrow keys + ASD.

  17. drewski says:

    The controls are fine, but I got bored. I guess I was hoping for something a little more immediate. It’s really well done, but I don’t have the patience for it.

  18. Cedge says:

    The controls are perfect. I have no idea what you people are talking about.

  19. Mr Peckerston says:

    “Okay, name one other game released in the past five years that uses arrow keys + ASD.”

    Legend of Princess, released a few months ago

  20. bobince says:

    > ‘Floaty controls’ seems to be the new buzzword for ‘I am not good at this game’.

    Nah, the game’s not really hard (well, up to the Treedweller level at least, which seems to be badly affected by glitches here); it’s just highly inertial: every level is like playing an ice level.

  21. Tei says:

    Beatiful game. Gameplay somewhat classic, but solid. /hat
    Unfortunally, game over screens are not my favorite tea cup…

  22. Lim-Dul says:

    Played this yesterday. The art is great, but the controls felt really loose and I had a hard time telling what was background and what was something I could jump on. So I didn’t play it very long.

    @cyrenic – I couldn’t have put it better myself. In fact, I did. I got into the beta test and shared pretty much the same thoughts with the devs (apart from some obvious bugs, not design decisions) but sadly they don’t seem to have fixed that. The confusing graphics become apparent like 30 seconds into the game when you want to collect the gems and fish that are on top of your house…

    Well – it’s still worth playing for the sheer beauty of the graphics and the fact that it’s free. ^^

  23. bobince says:

    > 30 seconds into the game when you want to collect the gems and fish that are on top of your house…

    Yeah, that’s a mean jump to put right at the start! The non-obviousness of ‘can I make a jump that high?’ (esp. off the umbrella) is exacerbated by the way the ‘cling onto a ledge’ behaviour only appears when you hold the up key (something the game never tells you to do) and even then only about one time in three, seemingly at random.

  24. Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, I noticed that sometimes when you’re clinging and you jump onto the platform, if it’s a short one you jump over the platform.

  25. Piso Mojado says:

    Anyone else have your anti virus software throw a fit? As soon as I connected to the site Symantec AV triggered on the f_006b23 file in my cache. Claimed it was infected with the Downloader.Swif.C trojan and quarantined it. They say, “Downloader.Swif.C is a Trojan horse that exploits the Adobe Flash Player Multimedia File Remote Buffer Overflow Vulnerability (BID 28695) in order to download more malware on to the compromised computer.”

    Maybe the site’s been hacked or maybe this is why it’s free?

  26. Piso Mojado says:

    PS: I see there is also a note on Kotaku which says, “Mister_Bump commented on Go Play Scarygirl
    “Website is infected with Downloader.Swif.C – that’ll be how they are making their money no doubt.”
    http://kotaku.com/5212598/#c12118344 2:42 PM on Apr 15

  27. Nutkins Victory Otter says:

    pifts.exe

  28. Dan says:

    Pretty, but rather super dull.. I only played the first two levels, and I’m wondering how much farther do you have to go to find the ‘splendidly intricate’ puzzles? Also, does the difficulty level change the puzzles?

  29. Stenl says:

    Something really important that the game forgets to tell you is that when you jump while spinning, you jump much higher. It makes the jumps on top of your house much easier.

  30. El Stevo says:

    Nice art style, but the game isn’t very good. Controls don’t have a good feel when put alongside good or even competent platformers. Collecting things for no apparent reason. Can’t distinguish between what’s in the foreground and what’s in the background. Lots of other very fundamental flaws.

    This is NOT good game design.

  31. Caiman says:

    Actually it does tell you that, but it doesn’t tell you that if you duck prior to spin jumping you really jump very high indeed!

    It’s a good job you people weren’t gaming back in the 80s when this kind of gameplay was very common. You’d never have done anything but whinge! Yes yes, we’ve moved on these days but to old farts like me the floaty controls and figuring out where the platforms are seems entirely natural. On level 4 so far, seems more of a fun journey than intricate puzzles though, but I see there are 16 levels in total so it’ll keep me busy.

  32. Premium User Badge

    Scandalon says:

    Mostly echoing what others have said as far as the game itself – looks great, controls a bit wonky, etc.

    Games like this make me wonder if onlive isn’t a bit late to the party though…really, how long until Flash is the common gaming platform? Heck for some of the facebook/myspace/bejewled crowd, I suspect it already is.

    Also – seriously, can’t we have imaginative, fairytale adventures without Tim Burton showing up?

  33. Andy`` says:

    wrt/ Downloader.Swif.C: Looking around it only seems to be picked up by Symantec/Norton (there was a virus definitions update on April 15th which started it being picked up), and apparently only on IE (even though I think the virus can affect IE and FF). There are reports of it happening with MyBrute too, and while it’s possible it could still be a genuine virus (I’m wondering how it would have affected two seperate projects around the same time like that), it does sound like it could well be a clash between Flash/IE and Symantec/Norton causing a false positive.

    There’s a guy on the Norton forums investigating it for MyBrute here: http://community.norton.com/norton/board/message?board.id=nis_feedback&thread.id=47181

  34. Mitthrawn says:

    They changed the controls. Now its just space bar for all actions. Much worse controls. I had no problem with the controls before, saw no reason to change them (or give people an option maybe?).

  35. Justin says:

    man, I had a ball playing this from start to finish in one go (on easy, I don’t have alot of time to commit to games so i wanted to get all the way through it quickly). Controls and playability and well, everything was fine. no real bugs or anything to complain about. Lots of game play variety. Those of you dismissing it as a platform game at level 2 are missing out on some cool stuff later.