Would you turn to the works of DaVinci to escape from a desert island?
I would imagine that being a high level art thief offers a wide range of perks and pitfalls. However, being stranded on a desert island is probably not one of the most pressing concerns when deciding if this is the career choice for you.
However, in Landit Bandit from The Bearded Ladies on PSN, that is exactly the predicament that our mumbling art thief finds himself in. But at least he is not alone. Fortunately there is also a rather industrious, loin cloth wearing guy also on the island. Upon discovering that there is no airport that can whisk our thief back to the big city, he and his new found companion come up with a plan to escape the island. Using blueprints that happen to be in the possession of the thief, they construct themselves a DaVinci style, pedal-powered helicopter. Makes perfect sense to me.
It is at this point that the player comes in, given the task of flying the helicopter contraction and aiding our heroes in their escape. It is just not that simple though. In a strange twist of events, which fit in quite well with the overall oddness of the story, leaving the island (or islands as there are more than one) will involve performing all manner of tasks.
The majority of these tasks revolve around collecting and dropping off passengers, in a Crazy Taxi style way. There are time limits imposed, so it is up to the player to plan in advance and work out the shortest route to accomplish this goal. It is suggested early on that, in order to achieve success, the player should plan a route that involves dropping one passenger and picking up another in close proximity.
As the player progresses, the pedal powered chopper will be upgraded and they will be able to take on “co-pilots”. These helpers come with specific skills that are designed to make it easier to get all of the passengers within the ever decreasing time limits. Believe me, the time limits become so tight that any help should be appreciated.
There is plenty more going on besides the collecting and depositing of islanders. Although collecting and depositing other things, such as barrels of Rum, offer variety, the core gameplay remains the same.
But that is no bad thing. Once the player gets used to controlling their ramshackle helicopter, which may take a little while, then the gameplay becomes great fun. Zipping around the well thought out island maps, whilst strategically planning pick ups and drop offs, and avoiding hazards such as sharks and bats, is very enjoyable.
The game looks nice and colourful. It may not be ground-breaking in the graphics department, but if you are playing the game properly, then you should have no time to spend picking faults with the view. The story is told through a comic strip style which complements and builds on the humour of the game.
With six islands to work through, there is plenty here to keep the player entertained. But the fun does not stop there. Landit Bandit has a full featured multiplayer mode which offers a nice variety of different ways to prove your aviation based superiority over your buddies.
Landit Bandit offers players something a bit different, as you would expect from The Bearded Ladies. Different does not always work. But in this case, with fairly simple controls, a nice smooth learning curve and a fair dose of humour, it works incredibly well. The result is a game that is both fun and engaging, whilst challenging enough to keep the player busy. Arcade fun at its best.