Mana Bar + Raskulls

Last week I finally had a chance to check out the new gaming bar in Brisbane; The Mana Bar.  The place is brilliant, and probably the most at home I’ve felt in a club in a really long time, if ever. You can probably expect a few future posts about my experiences there, and maybe a more detailed review soon.

In the meantime though, I want to talk about Raskulls!

Up to 4 people in a DigDug race in RaskullsDeveloped by Halfbrick in Brisbane, Australia, Raskulls is an Xbox Live game for up to 4 players who love fast paced head to head racing and digging. Digging? Yep, you read that correctly, digging. After selecting from a multitude of skeletons dressed as Pirates or adorable Dragons, players start (usually) at the top of the level and have to dig their way down through paths and obstacles, collecting energy for speed boosts along with special items to battle the others players on the way down.

It’s an incredibly addictive party game and a perfect fit on it’s dedicated screen in the Mana Bar, where you can play it before it’s even been released (if you’re lucky enough to live in Brisbane).

The main goal of course is to get to the end before the other 3 players, and from my experience with it so far there’s a fair amount of luck involved – a split second holdup can set you back as you have to dig through terrain that’s fallen from above, and linger too long under a falling block and it’ll crush your cute little avatar to smithereens. You get unlimited lives though, but it still sets you back a second or two that really could mean the difference between first or last place.

There’s numerous game modes and plenty of levels, and the selection style reminds me a little of Mario Cart in that you can play a grand prix of 4 levels, though they’re randomly selected or you pick 4 yourself. I haven’t had a good look through the other menu options yet though as it’s always in high demand and nobody wants to stay on the menu very long!

My one criticism would be that at times it’s a little unbalanced, because it’s aimed at being something you can pick up and get an idea about pretty quickly, but if you’re up against someone who knows the levels already then it’s very difficult to beat them. Of course this is true of pretty much any game out there, and the most similar game I can think of is again probably Mario Cart, but at least that has blue shells and bullets that favour the person at the back. It’s really not a big problem though because within a few plays most people will be on relatively the same level and then it’s just luck and mashing the dig/attack button while aiming down (and yelling insults at your friends as you pass them with a plunger on your head).

Raskulls will be available via XBox Live soon, you can keep an eye on it on Halfbrick’s site.

The Mana Bar is located on 420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley (I didn’t even have to look that up, is that sad?) and is usually open 5pm – midnight weekdays or 12pm to midnight fri/sat.

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