When I make chit chat I aim to win, and talking at coworkers is no different. Once while enjoying a hot caffeinated bean soup I yelled to my friendworker Hailey, "what's the games you've played?"
Her eyes let out a puff of surprise at my enthusiasm, because she didn't know what a gamesman I was. Then she plucked Mario Slapabouts from a leather bag around her ankle. Behold it:
Soon I'd forget to eat because this game made me cry too hard. Hailey and I don't talk any more we just slapabout.
We Put it in the Game Machine And Turned it On, Basically is what happens between these sections
From the first whispers of the game's opening I knew I was in for a whole new kind of jump and run, or puzzle undoing.
The game begins with a far away shot of Mario on a hillside. He surveys what can only be described as a nightmare landscape which stretches before him seemingly forever. Trees battle witch each other to look the gnarliest. The sun has long since hid itself behind a layer of grandma-linen-colored clouds. There is a thick mist covering a large portion of the screen. For a second we see a rabbit, but the very ground around it shifts unnaturally and pins its legs into place. The rabbit's eyes grow wide and it struggles to free itself from nature's grasp. "UNGH!" yells the rabbit, like it is being punched in the gut. It is being pulled deeper and deeper into the earth's embrace. Soon its stomach is hidden from view. The rabbit begins to cry. It stops struggling. Its tears pool where its face is being sucked under, until finally only its ears remain. A black hawk, fearful in its majesty, swoops down and grabs the ears, but it's going too fast and only rips them in half. A muffled scream is heard from the ground that ate the rabbit. As the hawk gains altitude again, an unseen marksman shoots it right in the face, and it plummets into the earth, which gleefully swallows it all, slurping down even the feathers. The ground coughs up a beak.
The shot cuts to a close up of Mario's face.
"Let's make this whole place squares," he says stridently.
Then the game menu pops up, right on the hill. It's jarringly cheery, and prompts you to "Begin Squaresing At Your Own Risk."
At this point Hailey turned her eyes at me by turning her whole head so that her eyes were able to focus on my eyes. I did the same, out of politeness. Our eyes looked at each other to indicate sincerity.
"This game may scare you," she warned me. "I don't want to see you fill your pants with urine or even poops."
"I never poop," I assured her. "Except when I try to."
Hailey shrugged her shoulders BIG to show how little confidence she had in this. I didn't show it, but I began to feel the fears I feel in the grocery store when I can't choose a mac and cheese flavor: has this made someone shit their own poop before? I am terrified.
By the time my terror sweat had finished coming out of my arm sockets, Hailey had chosen all the boring settings that squaresing required and we'd gotten to the point of picking a team
What do we have to do in this game?
We have to make this nightmare world squares.
Hailey explained this to me succinctly, with a minimum of diagrams. "When you think about what land is, it's a blanket. A wrinkly blanket. And when you're not in bed and you see your wrinkly blanket don't you wish it was a flat blanket? That's this game. The nightmares come from all of the wrinkles and the sun can only come out when you're flattening it out into the flattest shape ever: squares."
At this point, Hailey referred me to tattoo on her collar bone, which read: "But squares can't make squares- that's the rule. The only thing that can make squares is the biggest wrinkle of all time: spheres. A perfect wrinkle is a sphere."
So you spend the whole game making these squares as flat as you can using a sphere. It's math.
Who does this? Tell me their names and faces
You choose a squaresing team of two animals. The animals in the Slapabout family spent so long hiding from their monster world they now only experience fear. This makes even their simple task daunting. You see, the animals don't do the hard work of taming nightmares, they just keep the place square for Mario while he's busy.
You can play as Mario, but this is a mistake. When the game was being developed most of it was about Mario, and his quest to get rid of all nightmares. Back then the game was called "Mario: There is Nothing He Cannot Destroy" and used every button on the N64 controller. Mario could eat the flesh of his nightmare foes to gain unheard of powers: control over grass, filling his enemies with glee, or turning their insides to chalk. The game was a masterwork. In the final levels you would fight yourself, which was represented by a glowing green orb labelled "Pile of Unforgettable Regrets." You couldn't win.
But then they didn't remember to include it in the full release and accidentally created Mario Slapabouts, which was an office joke. When the development team realized the error they made, they immediately said "We did this bad thing by a joke, we must make the world right again." They joined their forces, went into hiding, and became Bankse.
But you still haven't even met the animals.
Many of the small junkyard animals in the Slapabouts family screech and warble as they run around their squares. By far the wailiest trash animal is the Chubs Diaper:
The Chubs Diaper, shown here trying to remember his parents' faces, creates from its mouth the unholiest of shrieks. When you wake up at night and hear the creaking of a door somewhere in the belly of your house, pray that it is just a burglar or kill-man and not the Chubs Diaper come to tell you all about its squares. When the Chubs Diaper fails to flatten its squares correctly it gnashes its teeth and wails. Often the other animals will hit it, chanting "You are the worst of us." They are correct.
Another fun animal to dislike is Uncle Bart.
Uncle Bart was a dog at one point, but the world is unkind and turned his face into a triangle graveyard with a big peach in the middle. At one point Uncle Bart played happily among the lawns of Southern Providence, but due to an errant dogwalker he ended up in the nightmare lands. He eats anything, even McDonald's. Uncle Bart scares the Chubs Diaper for fun but the weeping and wailing bring him no joy.
There are other animals but I'm crying too hard just looking at them to describe them. Here are their faces in case you ever need to look at something you hate:
After days and days of playing, I am drunk. My tears come out without sound because they are so frequent. Hailey also drinks heavily, and a malaise creeps over our lives and the whole workplace. Slapabouts has broken us.
Can I in good faith say the squares are worth it? Yes, absolutely. They are order being brought to chaos, and I enjoy seeing the animals hit the Chubs Diaper. There is justice, certainly. But I cannot handle it.
The gameplay flows wonderfully and it's easy to lose hours to it. Some characters are poorly balanced (Chubs Diaper, Hintsly the Wisp). Depth perception is really hard when you're playing on the court away from the camera.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Good luck squaresers