I know what you’re thinking, The PlayStation Vita, that’s an old dead console, why would you still be holding on to yours. Fortunately, there are some wonderful indie developers still making exclusive games for it, and one of those is Behind the Stone’s Sir Eatsalot.
Sir Eatsalot is a 2D platformer, telling the tale of Sir Eatsalot, a knight with an exposed, protruding belly, who must defeat the evil witch Hysterica. She is ravaging havoc across the kingdom, with her rat troops, and no good deeds like poisoning the kingdom with sour lemonade. This leaves Sir Eatsalot to venture through the food themed lands, to stop her and save the kingdom.
Although the story is a bit cliché, its charm comes from the Saturday morning cartoon nature of the dialogue and themes. There are constant food puns, and real-world things witched out for food, like how they mine cocoalentils, or the melon boats. The jokes aren’t always funny, but they are always charming. The bacon wrapped asparagus growing from the ground in farms was a personal favourite.
This is reinforced with the stunning art style. The cell shaded art is gorgeous, assisted by smooth animations, that again continue to reinforce the Saturday morning cartoon vibe. When Hysterica is angry, her head gets huge, and when sir Eatsalot gets angry, his helmet changes shape like a head. It’s crazy, and again so damn charming.
The other major bonus for the game is the way it uses the Vita’s features. Knocking paintings off the wall have you tapping the back of the Vita, which is a clever implementation. You’ll use that, the touch screen, tilting the console, and so much more throughout. Sometimes it’s a bit gimmicky, like using the camera to shine light on a torch in the mines, but no more so than Tearaway felt.
Sound is an area that the game is mixed on. The sound effects are wonderful, and continue the cartoon vibe, but a lack of music can make the vibe feel hollow at times. You don’t realise how important background music is until it’s gone, and it was noticeable.
The main issue is with the gameplay, which is an area a game doesn’t want to falter. Unfortunately, there is a timing delay between when you hit the button and the actions take place. This is something you adjust to, but you shouldn’t have to, and when there is a lot of action going on, it results in many unfair deaths.
The other issue is with Sir Eatsalot’s hit boxes. It’s not in line with his body, which again is something you get used to, but when you are trying to avoid projectiles while jumping over geysers, it is extremely frustrating to die when neither hit you.
Also, because the game has you backtrack a lot, the lack of a map was a real pain in the rear end, especially as the game has a light metroidvania element as you go up and down on the Y axis and through doors to different areas. Areas become unnecessarily complex to learn, especially for the time you spend there.
Despite these inconveniences, Sir Eatsalot makes up for its flaws with its silly charm. It’s not a perfect game, but it is a good reason to dust off the old Vita.