Thank you so much to Samurai Punk for providing a review code.
Before I returned to Nintendo, I had a brief 4 year stint as an Xbox player. My best friends and I, used to rack up an unhealthy amount of hours in whichever new Call of Duty had just released. We always enjoyed playing online, but sometimes it’s good to get together with friends and play some local split screen versus. The main problem with playing against someone in splitscreen was that you could look at their screen, a term we dubbed “screen peaking”. Well, now this concept that plagued my childhood has become the main gameplay mechanic of a video game. Screencheat: Unplugged is completely centered around the awful concept of “screen peaking”, but somehow is able to make it enjoyable.
Sorry viewers there’s nothing to see here, so let’s jump over to the gameplay.
Screencheat is a 3D competitive first person shooter. With up to 4 people, you can compete in a variety of game modes to see who’s the best “Screencheater”.
The premise of Screencheat is actually quite simple. When you start up a game you’ll quickly notice that everyone’s invisible. That’s right, you can’t see the other players except for the occasional cloud of dust that will appear when someone moves towards you, or fires their weapon.
So, how do you attack the other players if they’re invisible? Well you do so by looking at their screens. Yes, Screencheat is a game that’s played all on the one screen that’s divided up based on how many players there are.
You’ll have to watch the other players screens to try and locate them, while also keeping away from players that are out for your blood. When you think you’re aiming at the right spot you can try and attack a player with one of the game’s multitude of weapons.
There’s a great amount of diversity between different weapons. When you first start playing Screencheat you’ll only have access to a Blunderbuss. As you play more matches, your level will increase and more weapons will become available. Your arsenal of weapons ranges from a candlestick, to grenade launcher, hell, there’s even a teddy bear bomb that you can toss and detonate on command. The weapons are hilarious and provide some genuine entertainment.
You also have access to a variety of different locations and game modes to try out. There’s a solid amount of both locations and game modes to unlock. It definitely helps assure that Screencheat doesn’t start to get boring after sometime.
One problem some players may have with Screencheat is the time that it takes to unlock everything the game has to offer. As I mentioned you gain experience after every match, but eventually it does get to a point where you have to spend a fair amount of time with the game to unlock everything. I didn’t mind this, as I really enjoy having tons of content to unlock. However, an option to unlock everything from the beginning would be nice. Even just having the game modes and locations unlocked from the beginning would be a thoughtful addition.
Back on the topic of game modes, Screencheat really has a good variety of different modes to play. There’s the simple free for all death match mode that will definitely be many players favorite, but there’s plenty more to choose from as well. I’ll list a few examples below.
One Shot: Plays like Deathmatch, but once you’ve fired your Blunderbuss you must wait for everyone else to fire there’s before reloading.
King of the Hill: Players must run around a map and capture objectives to gain points. Once one player gains a certain amount of points they win. You can capture a point from an enemy by killing them and being the only one inside the point.
Gold Rush: Players must run around the map and gather coins while trying to kill other players and take their coins. The one with the most coins is crowned winner.
Murder Mystery: Murder Mystery is like playing a game of clue. You’re given cards to hold onto that dictate which color player you’re suppose to kill and with what weapon. Weapons are scattered all around the map and can be picked up. You’re awarded a certain amount of points for each successful target that’s neutralized. Similar to Deathmatch the game ends when someone acquires the necessary amount of points.
Screencheat also lets players unlock different skins even though you play as an invisible character. Fear not however, as you’ll get to see your skin you chose at the end of the match.
There’s also gameplay options called “Mutators” that can be unlocked. These can create drastic changes to the gameplay such as changing gravity or slow motion kills. They’re fun to play around with, but they do take some time to unlock
Another very enjoyable aspect of Screencheat is its comedic value. Screencheat tried to be a genuinely goofy game, through its hilarious and hectic gameplay. What makes the game even funnier is when you successfully kill someone words will pop up at the of your screen. Usually the words that pop up are funny phrases, like you got “Platinumed” or you got “#DEAD”. It manages to come across in a humorous manner without feeling too dry.
It’s important to mention that, although Screencheat is meant for local co-op play with friends, you do have the ability to play alone. There’s an option to add bots to your game to play solo, or you can even add a bot or two if you don’t have a full group. The bots have customizable difficulties and are still surprisingly fun to play against. However, I will reiterate that Screencheat is really meant as a local co-op experience. That is where you find Screencheat at its best.
Screenchat is one of those rare local-multiplayer games that has high staying power. There’s diversity within its gameplay options to give the game longevity. With a solid arsenal of fun weapons, game modes, and locations you shouldn’t have a problem getting quite a few hours of enjoyment out of Screencheat. Although, I do wish some of the locations had a bit more interactive elements.
Screencheat’s presentation is just as wacky and colorful as you would think. Every location is brimming with vibrant and interesting designs. The weapon designs are well done and the game’s cartoon style visual style works brilliantly. The sound design is good as well, not overly memorable, but works for the game.
I experienced a few frame rate issues while playing with friends, but never any that were significant. For the most part Screencheat runs very on the Nintendo Switch.
Overall Screencheat: Unplugged is a local co-op party game that was meant for the Switch. It’s fast placed, hectic gameplay is as entertaining as it is hilarious. There’s a variety of weapons and game modes to assure that the game rarely feels like it’s getting old. Some may be put off by the amount of time, it takes to unlock everything, and some of the locations could use some more interactive elements. With all that being said, you really can’t go wrong with throwing Screencheat on the TV and passing around some Joy-Cons
Hilarious & Hectic Gameplay
Wide Variety of Weapons, Game Modes & Locations To Try
Mutators Are a Nice Add-on
Colorful Visual Design
Option to Play Solo
Manages to Make “Screen Peaking” Fun
Some Players May be Put Off by The Time it Takes to Unlock Everything
More Interactive Elements in The Locations Would Have Been Nice