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CONSOLE: PC DEVELOPER: WayForward Technologies PUBLISHER: Warner Bros. Interactive
RELEASE DATE (NA): July 16, 2014 GENRE: Action-Adventure
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

More of a WayBackward than a WayForward...

Looney Tunes is a beloved, long-running franchise consisting of amicable characters. Meanwhile, Scooby Doo is one of those Hanna Barbera staples, it never goes away; it may always be reimagined and re-released, but the originals will always be the best. How great would it be if they crossed over? I know right, mashup of the century! WB Games Montreal and WayForward show respect for these "Merrie Melodies" from our youth by rendering them in hideous 3D, slapping them into an absolutely disposable piece of shovelware filth, and clearly setting out to deliberately make a bad game.

A quite similar game to this one was released for iOS, and that version contained fully animated cutscenes (well, the characters at least move), but for some unbeknownst reason these are replaced with blocks of text and audio in this version. Most games go through an upgrade when getting ported from mobile, not a downgrade. What the hell is going on? And to make matters worse, this appears to be a port of the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, which should, by all accounts, be more powerful than an iOS version but is somehow inferior in every conceivable facet.

They want $19.99 USD for this.

So what is it? I called it filth, so why do you care? It's a platformer, a crossover between Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes. What a promising idea! Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo investigating how and why such an insult to their namesakes was developed, now that's a game I would pay to play. But, the potential is squandered. Rather than assume the role of Bugs or Daffy or Scooby or, I dunno, anybody, you are instead a brand new cartoon character, nameless and unimportant, invited to Bugs Bunny's birthday party. You can pick the species, skin colour, and accessories worn by your in-game avatar, but you can't give them a heart or a reason for being there.

So, Bugs' birthday party, yes. A unique framing device not used in previous Looney Tunes games, certainly not one named Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout. The new "MOCME" juicer that Bugs got for his birthday has caused all the electronics in his house to start acting strange, exploding and malfunctioning. Joining Bugs and Daffy, you make your way to the mall, to attempt to return the juicer. Then there's something about a cheese mine; I wasn't paying attention. The point really is to find out who MOCME are, and why all their electronics are murdering people.

OR you can investigate something with Scooby Doo and the gang, something to do with a ghost or something I really don't care, please don't make me play any more. But the two stories don't link together, the Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo characters don't meet up, and there's no reason for both stories to be played as your customized fursona rather than actual series characters.

Each stage is a wide-open, large and empty trek past obstacles. Generic, soulless platforming sections. Collecting coins that are spent on items you can use to dress up your Personal Flea'sus, as you get ever closer to your eventual Decea'sus. Painfully repetitive background music. Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny impersonators with as much gusto as jarred prunes.

Grab 'em and bag 'em.

May I remind you, they want $19.99 USD for this. And $19.99 CAD, even though it should be less if we're converting across. Americans are getting royally ripped off here, in the biggest case of daylight robbery this century!

Reviews and comments on Steam don't fare much better. One user is experiencing a "please turn off power and reinsert SD card" error, no doubt a message intended for the 3DS version of the game, further supporting the theory that the PC version is just a straight port. There have even been claims that the game was not developed by WayForward at all, claims probably started by someone at WayForward who was ashamed of the log that they dropped in the video game toilet. Some people want any excuse to not accept WayForward strike mould more often than gold.

That said, the game is suspiciously absent from WayForward's website. It's never been on there, I even had a trawl through on the Wayback Machine. So did WayForward have any hand in this, or not? Is it all the work of WB Games Montreal? The studio that brought us Arkham Origins, which says it all really. If WayForward did nothing, why is their name on here? Smells like money laundering, or raw fish.

I can tell you exactly why I think this was made. This is a disgusting truth of the video game industry, which I why I think it has credence here. Roleplay with me here. You're a developer and you want access to a lucrative IP, like "Batman". Sure, you can get access to "Batman", but you have to strike a deal with the licensor. "Yes, you can make a Batman game. But you will also have to make us a Looney Tunes game." So your heart isn't in the Looney Tunes game, and you make this vapid piece of soulless muck. Meanwhile, another team works on the Batman game, so your company can suckle on Batman's lucrative teat. I'm not saying this is what WayForward did, but their Batman: The Brave and the Bold game is not a bad little beat-em-up, they were clearly passionate about making a good game there. Just a happy coincidence, I'm sure.

This game is "we kept up our end of the bargain, thanks for Batman". No effort. You get out what you put in, and WayForward put in nothing. For the last time, they want $19.99 USD for this. It isn't even worth a five of your smackers.

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