Screencheat is a really fun throwback to the classic local cooperative games of yesteryear. It can best be described as a chaotic competitive split-screen first-person shooter where everyone is invisible, so players are forced to look at each others screens in order to win. Supporting both local and online multiplayer, combat in Screencheat is fast and furious with a wide variety of one-hit kill weapons.
The first game I think of when someone mentions the words “split screen” or “local co-op” is the Nintendo 64 classic, Goldeneye. I’m certain that this would be the case for almost anybody who was alive at the time to experience that game. The nostalgia that almost everybody has for Goldeneye has led many a developer to attempt to somehow recapture a small piece of just what it was that made it so much fun.
We’ve all been accused of looking at the other players screen in a sneaky attempt to locate them and end their brief existences. This is the very definition of a Screencheat and has led developer Surprise Attack Games to craft a game in which the better Screencheat you are the more you will succeed in dominating your enemies, it’s very clever.
Having all of your opponents be invisible takes a little bit of getting used to but once you do it feels strangely natural. It’s fast paced and frantic and makes you completely rethink the ways in which you would normally tackle a first person multiplayer shooter. Players will have to master the art of taking a not-so sneaky look at their opponent’s screens and working out where they are based on uniquely coloured areas of the map and distinctive landmarks.
There are a variety of ridiculous one hit kill weapons at your disposal: Ranging from the dependable Blunderbuss to the Hobby Horse to the completely crazy Chefolet; a car engine that fires ricocheting energy balls, all are designed to deliver deadly satisfaction. Playing a match with the rule that only melee weapons are allowed is a whole bunch of fun.
Also, there are nine distinct games modes to be played. From traditional favourites such as Deathmatch to completely unique Murder Mystery that challenges you to find and frag your specific target with a specific weapon.
Sometimes the gameplay can be so frantic that taking a moment to take a glance at another screen becomes much harder than you’d expect. This can lead to a shoot and hope approach which may or may not appeal to those who prefer more skill based shooters. That’s not saying the game doesn’t require skill, you’ll need to have fast reactions and patience if you want to win. This type of first person shooter should definitely appeal to those who enjoy the genre but might find they struggle most of the time.
With the possibility of up to 8 players locally or online, Screencheat would definitely make a really fun party game. While there are a number of solo trials which can be used to hone your skills, I’m not so certain that the game has that much longevity in terms of how long you might play it before moving on to something else. Still, this is the perfect game for anyone who struggles to find the time to invest in larger games.
Screencheat takes a genre in which almost everything has been done and turns it on its head. It’s a unique, frantic and sometimes ridiculous first person shooter that doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is. It’s a really fun game and I’m glad we as gamers can still depend on indie developers to realise that there is a strong market for local co-op games.