There are some games that take a simple concept and refurbish it just to get players addicted, such as Doodle Jump. However, simplicity doesn’t always work. Scarecrow is an example of where there is not enough straw beneath its pretty surface.
The goal of Scarecrow is to blast your straw man into the air by collecting floating corn kernels and avoiding deadly obstacles. Tapping anywhere on the device will cause an explosion, accelerating the scarecrow. Tilting the device turns him left and right. The game runs off of a ragdoll physics engine that allows every limb to react to collisions.
This is oddly terrifying.
Corn kernels appear in twisting paths as you work your way up, and have three functions. First, collecting them brings up your score. Also, they propel you further in the air. More importantly, though, they replenish your explosion meter, shown by the word ‘Scarecrow’. Once this runs out, you can no longer tap the screen to make an explosion.
Simply collecting corn is not enough to succeed, however. Multiple obstacles and enemies constantly stand in your way. Some simply block your path, such as brick walls and jack-o-lanterns that bump you away from them. Others, including hungry heads and spiky balls, will try to grasp you in their clutches and rip you apart limb by limb. If you get caught by them, it’s game over.
The concept is great, but unfortunately there’s not enough game to back it. Once you get past the initial excitement of watching the scarecrow slam into roadblocks, losing lots of straw and a possible body part, the game becomes stale. With only one mode, we had seen everything in ten minutes.
The brick wall is not amused.
Scarecrow is Plus+ enabled, bringing online leaderboards, achievements, and friend challenges. The achievements were disappointing, though. They usually called for getting killed by a certain enemy, losing limbs and falling to the ground, or smashing into walls a bunch of times. Some create a nice diversion for completists, including reaching over 5,000 points without making a single explosion, or achieving 10,000 points in under 20 seconds, but ultimately they did little to enhance the game’s life.
Even with a great concept and online integration, Scarecrow feels incomplete. The average gamer will grow bored of Scarecrow in about thirty minutes. Until the developers release some much-needed content updates, it’s hard to recommend buying this game.