There’s a lot of hype surrounding Star Wars these days, especially with the new films gracing us every Christmas. Understandably, we’re starting to see an increase of titles attempting to cash in on some of that hype. Which brings us to Luke Sidewalker, a side-scrolling game of avoidance and picking food up off the floor.
You play Luke, a mid-20s New Yorker who struggles with something I think we’ve all experienced: busy pavements when you’re in a rush. The aim of the game is to move from one side of the level to the other in the fastest time possible, avoiding the obstacles of other pedestrians, cyclists, street vendors, tourists, pigeons, rats, bodybuilders and yoga practices. To aid you in this end, Luke has a crab-like ability to walk sideways and a sprint speed and duration indicative of a 20-something socialite.
He also has the ability to excuse himself, passing by individual characters twice in each level. I didn’t see why I would use them because when I did require an ability like that I needed it to pass through a big crowd. Instead, I found just pushing through was the best tactic for the crowds, which echoes real life rather well! The sprint helps with this, even though it only lasts about ten seconds.
Littered around the levels are items of food which act as power-ups, usually replenishing the sprint bar and giving a short burst of speed. Added into this are a few additional pick ups like chewing gum which slows you and dog poo - the most useful item in the game - which gives you a nice big radius of avoidance for a few seconds. Each level has a variation of the power-ups, though they all have the same effect - the dog faeces were only present on one level to my memory however.
I feel that Luke Sidewalker has two main problems: firstly, the collision detection is awful, and hitting the back of someone can push you in front of them, causing a chain of knockbacks. Secondly, the game features a single puzzle that can’t be solved by simply running past it and it doesn’t tell you how to solve it. I had to look at the forums for a hint, and found that I wasn’t the only one having trouble. It turns out that you need to lure one specific type of person from way back in the map to progress, but I didn’t even know those guys would follow you until I read the forums.
Past that, it’s a short - I completed it in less than an hour - quirky game that can be a little overdramatic. The pixel art is very clear and it was obvious what everything was supposed to be, even if every sprite just cycled between two frames of animation. It feels like a mobile game, something to play when you have a couple minutes to burn rather than something you’d actively assign time to play. I doubt I’d ever go back but I enjoyed what I played for the most part.
Luke Sidewalker (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
A short and simple game with good art but seemingly inconsistent and punishing collision detection.