By Tyler Lubben / February 2nd, 2015
|Title||Supreme League of Patriots
|Developer||No Bull Intentions|
|Publisher||Phoenix Online Publishing|
|Release Date||January 29, 2015|
|Age Rating||N/A – Presumed Mature|
I enjoy a good adventure game from time to time, but, with most of my experiences lately coming for the Telltale Games camp, I sometimes forget that there’s more to this genre than trying to keep a little girl from hating you. More than that, adventure games can be challenging to the mind, lighthearted and clever. Enter Supreme League of Patriots, a three-episode series of satirical point-and-click adventures rife with political and pop culture humor. I was initially apprehensive about reviewing this game since, as a paid-up liberal, I’m obviously offended by even the slightest off-color joke. However, if you’re able to leave your misgivings at the door, you’re going to find quite an entertaining experience within.
Supreme League of Patriots follows the life of slacker, slob and all-around dummy, Kyle Keever. Though, officially, he works as a janitor at the NYPD, Kyle fancies himself an actor and, when he finds himself with an invitation to appear on the popular reality TV show America’s Got Superpowers, he heads to the nearest costume shop and creates his brand-new superhero persona, The Perfect Patriot. However, thanks to his inherent nature as a bachelor, he soon gets pizza sauce on the costume, and, again, as a product of his bachelorhood, washing the costume causes the colors to run together, transforming The Perfect Patriot into The Purple Patriot! Not so easily dissuaded by such a minor setback, Kyle still goes to the audition. Of course, if I go much farther, I’ll have to explain the entire first episode of this mini-series. Long story short, due to a series of accidents and no small amount of head trauma during his auditions, Kyle goes through a bit of a transformation whereby his made-up superhero personality becomes his dominant persona. From there, the Purple Patriot spends his time trying to get licensed as an official superhero — finding a suitable hideout, vehicle and proving he’s doing a service to society. As luck would have it, though, Purps spends more of his time stealing, destroying property and beating on innocent people than actually saving the day.
Right up front, you should know that, if you’re easily offended by, well, just about anything, you’re likely to be offended by something someone says in this game. Supreme League of Patriots pokes fun at the full range of hot-button issues – politics, religion, gay and women’s rights, income inequality, video games, sports, music – the list goes on. Of course, these jokes are only touched upon in the beginning of the game, as it isn’t until Kyle takes on the full persona of the Purple Patriot that the humor really begins to pick up.
While Kyle is normally a pretty laid-back guy and accepting of people of different lifestyles, the Purple Patriot is quite sophomoric in his treatment of pretty much anyone who isn’t a straight, white male. He’s incredibly misogynistic to women – wondering why working women aren’t in the kitchen, and refusing to let a female nurse examine him without a male doctor around – and he often makes threats to a flamboyantly homosexual superhero who, only hours earlier, he had been amicable towards as Kyle. This kind of behavior might get old pretty fast (as I’m sure anyone who watches more than five minutes of cable news can attest) if not for the balance of endless snark that Kyle’s best friend and roommate, Mel, an illegal British immigrant, brings to the table. Adopted by the Purple Patriot as his Boy Wonder- I’m sorry, “assistant,” Mel acts as a fantastic foil to his friend’s *ahem* “family values,” turning almost everything the hero says into a punchline.
While the Purple Patriot and Mel’s repartee is the main draw of these games, they are supported by some entertaining secondary characters, many of them as hugely caricatured as our Mauve Avenger. There’s Samantha, a hardline conservative police detective who, while extremely judgmental of Kyle and Mel in the beginning of the game, becomes a much more willing accomplice after Kyle goes through his little ideological metamorphosis. At the America’s Got Superpowers audition, the duo meets The Bleeding Heart, a hardcore social justice warrior who just happens to bear a strong resemblance to Sam, and The Cold War Warrior, a former KGB agent turned supervillain who wishes to defect the US. There’s also the “Flamboyant Superhero” who I mentioned earlier. He still hasn’t thought up an actual name for his superpowered persona, but it’s an effective placeholder. Players will also meet the sultry Nurse Julie, a goth medical worker whose diagnosis for just about everything is euthanasia, and Consuela, a working woman who goes through a bit of a career change thanks to the Purple Patriot, which earns him her endless hatred. Players will also receive assistance from a retired superhero named Stan. It’s certainly a colorful cast (and, no, that isn’t my attempt at racial humor), and much of the game’s comedy comes from their ideological difference paired with no small amount of sarcasm, usually at the expense of Purps.
While not I’m familiar with any of the voice actors’ previous work (if any), they were almost universally great performances. Mel’s voice actor, Alan Smithee, did a particularly great job, but, though he sounds strangely familiar, I couldn’t seem to find any past voice work. Either that or I’m being messed with…
I suppose I should talk a bit about the gameplay, but, honestly, there isn’t a whole lot to say. If you’ve ever played a point-and-click adventure game before, you’ll almost immediately know what you’re doing. As players explore different locations, there will be plenty of objects and people with which to interact. Clicking on them allows players to perform an assortment of contextual actions, such as examining, using or speaking. Items that the Purple Patriot takes into his inventory can be accessed on his Utility Belt by dragging the mouse icon to the bottom of the screen. The complete inventory, list of current objectives and game options will show up if you bring the mouse to the top of the screen. This will allow you to examine your items or attempt to combine them by clicking and dragging different pieces together. While most of the puzzles can be solved if you simply examine and interact with every object and person (made easier by pushing the Space Bar to highlight all objects), players can speak to Mel at any time for a clue on what to do. While his first clue is usually enough to get you on track, you can continue to ask for assistance and he’ll practically spell out exactly what to do. My one main issue with the gameplay is how slowly Purps walks around when you try to send him somewhere. It’s a pretty leisurely pace, which can be especially annoying when you’re lost and trying to explore different locations to figure out what to do and all you want to do is walk into another room.
Supreme League also had an interesting art style that was pretty pleasing to the eyes. As you can already see, the characters aren’t exactly anatomically correct, which I found worked well with the whole comic book aesthetic of the game. Even better than that, most of the game’s environments seemed to be pre-rendered, lending even more to this animated style. While the characters themselves were 3D models, as well as some of the items that they would interact with, the locations and effects within were all 2D, with some excellent framing to help players easily see important items in any given area. The world map, too, is wonderfully drawn, making it look lively, but also allowing players to see all important locations without getting confused. The graphics aren’t too intensive, either, allowing me to play on Ultra settings with no noticeable drops in frame rate.
Interestingly, before anything else, I was struck by how great SLOP’s soundtrack is. The songs were suitably action-packed for the subject matter, but almost every track matched the setting perfectly. Kyle and Mel’s apartment had a decidedly casual tone to it, while the AGS auditions were slightly urgent and nerve racking. Plus, almost every character has a personal theme song that plays every time you speak to them, from the organ-heavy tones of Nurse Julie to the threatening percussional feel of the Cold War Warrior. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at how much I enjoyed almost every track from the game, as it turns out that it was composed by Jake Kaufman, the man behind other such great soundtracks as Mighty Switch Force!, Shovel Knight and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. Great soundtracks, all, and, as far as I’m concerned, Supreme League easily joins that pedigree.
Supreme League of Patriots is a fun little mini-series full of great characters, music and humor. Some people may be offended by some of the jokes found within, but, hey, if you aren’t offending someone, it isn’t really comedy, right? The games comes in three installments at $6 a pop, or you can pick up the entire season for $15. Honestly, for that price, I see no reason why you shouldn’t just get them all. Each is a fun little adventure that will take you about four hours to complete, giving you about 12 hours of entertainment — give or take depending on how good you are at figuring out the many puzzles you’ll be presented with. While there are a few slight hiccups in the gameplay, and the overall plot may leave something to be desired, the hilarious writing and character interactions are still something you owe it to yourself to experience. Who said Democrats and Republicans can’t get together and get something worthwhile out of it? Even if it is just a few laughs.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
No Bull IntentionsPCPhoenix Online PublishingReviewsupreme league of patriots