Remember MiniClip, the browser based games website everyone played in school when they were 14? You know, the one famous for bringing through games like Trial, Stick Cricket and various other games that have gone onto better, more lucrative days? Well, Washington’s Wig is a throw-back to that style of game – it’s cheap, easy, simple and will last you no longer than 15 minutes before you wonder what else the world has to offer (for $1).
You ‘play’ as Dogsworth McFreedom, the loyal canine companion of one George Washington, a famous river-crosser and part-time liberator of lands once Spanish. George, whilst thinking of ways to cross the Delaware, somehow forgot his lucky wig. As a future founding father, Washington then demands Dogsworth to fetch his wig so he can lead his men to eventual freedom. Unfortunately, despite having all winter to sort this out, George didn’t have enough time to wait for his canine com-patriot and started sailing anyway, leaving Dogsworth, wig-on-head, to chase Washington down the frozen river. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the game.
Between hair-loss and liberation, the game is a very basic side-scrolling platformer with Dogsworth jumping from ice-platform to platform, leaping over British dogs and more British dogs to reach his master. Frankly, there is not much more to the game than that. There is a two player mode, an endurance mode and a time trial, but all of these barely hide the fact that all you are doing is jumping a dog over other dogs to reach an American hero. Go on, say that again.
What Washington’s Wig lacks in a coherent and enjoyable videogame experience it nearly makes up for with a sly sense of humour. As you can guess, it doesn’t exactly take itself seriously (although Wikipedia does not disprove this version of the Delaware crossing), and various ridiculous reasons are found by el’George to send his Mutt back onto the ice with his wig. There is plenty of wit on show, with one-liners thrown around like confetti and the simple fact that, frankly, the premise is hilarious and the game is fully aware that it is plainly ridiculous; Assassin’s Creed 3 this is not.
The thing is, and it feels somewhat pointless saying this for a 80 MS point/ 1$ game, but there is very little reason to play Washington’s Wig. Even with the time-trial modes, the endurance (why?) and the two-player mode, the fact that the game really consists of little more than jumping over objects means that it is little better than a browser based game, and should have perhaps stayed that way. Although witty, there is very little to keep even the keenest gamer interested in Washington’s Wig, resulting in a sometimes amusing but utterly dull and pretty pointless experience.
Washington’s Wig is available to download now for XBLA.