If you've ever wanted to play as a voodoo doll who hurts himself to defeat his enemies then here's a game for you. Originally released in 2003, Voodoo Vince is back for more punishment on Xbox One but is it a game worthy of yet another remaster?
For the unfamiliar, Voodoo Vince is an underrated 3D platformer for the original Xbox. In fact, I included it in my Top 10 Xbox Platformers list a couple of years ago. So, when I heard that this long-lost gem was being remade for Xbox One, I just had to review it. You control Vince who's a voodoo doll on a quest to save Madam Charmaine. He may not be the most capable doll in her collection but he might just have what it takes to rescue her. The controls are similar to almost any other 3D platformer where you run and jump around and attack enemies. An interesting part is when you unleash a voodoo attack to clear out surrounding foes. Doing so has Vince hurt himself in a different way which can be quite funny. He's a charming little fellow, too, with many humorous lines of dialog. Overall, the accessible gameplay and likeable (yet unlikely) hero add up to make Voodoo Vince an enjoyable game.
One of my favourite aspects of Voodoo Vince is its New Orleans setting. The world is full of moonlit city streets and kooky characters that make exploring it a delight. My only problem with the graphics is that this is a remastered game but the visuals aren't quite up to par with other current-generation 3D platformers (like Yooka-Laylee). Many of the environments come across as bland with grainy textures and such although the buildings usually look pretty nice. Anyway, as someone who digs jazz, I enjoyed the soundtrack here a great deal as it's full of toe-tapping tunes that add to the already enjoyable atmosphere.
The two main aspects of gameplay are combat and puzzles. The puzzles can be surprisingly intricate as some involve many carefully thought out steps in order to solve them. For example, one area has you feed a horse statue an apple so it can kick you up to a rooftop where you have to change a clock in order to allow certain stores in the square to open. Upon advancing in this section, you'll find yourself with a fistful of money which you can either use to buy a trumpet or go to a burlesque show. If you do the latter, Vince will be a happy little voodoo doll but you'll have to start the sequence all over again. It's funny stuff but some puzzles can get a bit too confusing and you may find yourself scratching your head while wondering how the heck you're supposed to advance.
Finally, the combat unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired. Vince can either punch or spin around like Crash Bandicoot in order to strike enemies. It may be disappointing to hear but taking out foes like this feels overwhelmingly generic. Also, unlike Crash Bandicoot, hitting enemies has a disconnected feeling to it that makes it far less satisfying than it could be. Even unleashing the powerful voodoo attacks isn't all that gratifying as all they do is make enemies freeze then disappear. Thankfully, fighting enemies isn't the main feature of Voodoo Vince and the nifty puzzles more than make up for any shortcomings in the combat.
Voodoo Vince is nothing short of a 3D platforming gem and this Remastered version will hopefully get it the attention that it deserves. That being said, it definitely has a few issues that make it feel more unrefined than you'd hope.
- + Accessible platforming with an unlikely and rather charming protagonist
- + Awesome setting and music
- + Satisfying and interesting puzzles
- - Some sections can get confusing and will have you scratching your head
- - Visuals are quite bland at parts
- - Combat is very generic