Do you like science? How about friends? Well, that’s just super, then you must know about Super Science Friends?! If not, you’re definitely missing out, the cartoon is a science-imbued comedic masterpiece. Well, maybe that’s too strong a word – after all, it’s no Richard and Mortimer, but it sure is a humorous time-traveling adventure full of tongue-in-cheek humor, wacky representations of historical figures and scientific superpowers.
The pilot of the show was successfully Kickstarted and a few more episodes came out, the last one being episode 5 released on May 15 of this year. The action revolves around Winston Churchill and his team of super-scientists, whom he traveled back in time to retrieve. From ancient Mesopotamia he got Taputti, the world’s first chemist who can cause erotic illusions with her potent perfumes and potions. From America, Winston snatched Serbian genius Nikola Tesla, master of electricity. Marie Curie and her radiation powers are also part of the team, as is Sigmund Freud with his telepathic skill that can incite sexual tensions in anyone. Charles Darwin can morph into any animal known to man, and last, but not least, is teenage Albert Einstein (time is relative to him, you know) who controls the fourth dimension and has super-speed. This team has to fight Nazis from the future (and the past, I’m not entirely sure how it all works) and ensure the world keeps developing in the right direction.
The premise is zany, to say the least, but it works oh so well. The show never takes itself seriously and has a humor so smart it’s kind of dumb, if you know what I mean (if you do, let me know, cause I’m not sure I do, myself). Good news and bad news all rolled into one come in the shape of a failed Kickstarter campaign to develop this cartoon into a side-scrolling beat-em-up arcade style game, produced by Gorlami!
There’s a downloadable demo where you can play a level or two as Einstein, beating up Nazis and robots. The cartoon is so great that I really hoped the game would get made, but upon playing the demo I can kind of see why it didn’t see the light of day. The premise is still awesome, as it’s based on the story of the cartoon, but the gameplay leaves something to be desired. There’s not much in the way of combat, as you have only one style of attack, and not that many animations, either. You can jump-kick and you can activate your superpower when you have enough juice (Einstein’s is a super speed punch from across the screen that instantly kills Nazi grunts). There is really no skill to be talked about, as just button mashing a single command is enough to dispatch most enemies. The only real test, if you can call it that, was the boss of the second level, a robot operated by a jeering child called Little Phillip. The machine is invincible while moving around and can only be dealt damage when it starts rebooting. It’s easy to get into the rhythm and dispatch of this enemy too, but at least it wasn’t a series of 3-4 attacks in a row, as it was with the others, including the level 1 boss Juggernautzi.
Maybe I’m being too harsh with the game, as it was only a demo and far from enough to showcase everything the complete title would have been. For one, all of the other scientists were locked and unavailable to play with, as you’re required to unlock them with Einstein before you can play them. Each with their own special skill, they could add a lot of variety to the action. Also, the level design is pretty awesome, with some hidden jokes thrown here and there (a naked captured Tesla is cowering inside a closet in one room), and the graphics and animation are exactly what you’d expect of a game inspired by this cartoon.
All in all, it’s a shame the campaign didn’t get the funding it required, so the game will probably never see the screens in its full glory, but we can at least watch the show and laugh at the hilarious interactions between these titans of science (and Freud. Nobody knows why Freud is there).