Ubisoft has re-released Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game, delivering a 10-year-old cult spin-off to contemporary players. Just like the film and comic, it’s so damn fun it hurts.
In 2010 hipster culture was in vogue and Hollywood was in for a pound. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World may have landed a few years post-Juno or Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but it capitalised on the same frequency; charming rom-coms centred around cool music and awkward characters.
Alongside Scott Pilgrim the film came a video game spin-off, developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Chengdu. Featuring the same cast of beat-down bandmates and evil ex-boyfriends, this side-scroller became a cult classic for its retro aesthetic, wildly cool soundtrack, and a tendency not to take itself too seriously.
Essentially, all the things that made Edgar Wright’s film so wonderful translated perfectly into the game format. Now in 2021 it’s back on the shelves – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition may be a mouthful of a title, but it includes the base game plus two original DLCs, and it’s now playable on your PS4 or Xbox One.
The gameplay is remarkably true to its heritage in side-scrolling beat-em-ups, echoing ’80s arcade adaptations like The Simpsons or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The controls feel a little clunky to start, but that’s mainly due to your character only having a few moves unlocked. The game generally grows much more fluid as your progress, earn new skills, and become a bigger badass.
Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Kim Pine, Stephen Stills, Knives Chau, and Wallace Wells are all playable characters, each with their own moveset and abilities. You’ll need to level them up before they reach their full potential, meaning a few of the early levels can be a bit of a punish (especially playing solo), but your power will continue to scale in gratifying ways as you play.
Boss fights, Subspace areas where you can score some extra rewards, and shops where you spend coin from bashing up enemies all provide nice breaks in the levels, although the game generally feels best when you’re thundering through baddies as fast as you can.
If you loved the film (or Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels it was based off), it’s a pleasure to relive the key moments throughout the game. Each evil ex-boyfriend means a fun boss fight, the locations all look charming transposed into the game’s pixel art style, and the soundtrack keeps the flame burning with frenetic chiptune compositions.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game is best played with mates – up to three of them with local and online co-op both available. It may get a little chaotic with four players and all the enemies on the screen, but between beating up thugs, reviving teammates, triggering special attacks, and more, it’ll be a ton of fun too.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition is out now on PC, PS4 Xbox One, Stadia, and Nintendo Switch. Find out more here.