Sometimes I like to recommend games to people. I get a little kick out of it because I like sharing my tastes and opinions with people. It is primarily why I am a writer after all. Y’know what else I like doing? Telling people to stay as far away from certain games as possible. Welcome to the first also ultimately not regularly posted series known as Leave It On The Shelf, where anyone can share their opinion on games they feel should never be played by any person in the history of EVER. On today’s entry, we’re going to take a look at a game I had for the original Xbox when I was a wee lad. This is: SNEAKERS Usually, when it comes to games from our childhood, we tend to be unsure of the quality of the game. We were too young to know any better or understand what we were playing couldn’t be defined as good. I say usually because Sneakers is an exception to that rule. Even little Chavo knew he was playing some bullshit. Sneakers is an exclusive Xbox title, (for reasons I can’t even fathom) that was released exclusively in Toys R Us stores in the US and everywhere else in other regions. It stars some mice. In clothes. With little shoes. We have a real winner on our hands so far folks. The plot of the game, if you can call it that, is your crew of mice are preparing for a party and are accumulating a wealth of cheese, only to find that their cheese stash is gone. The leader of the group, Apollo, comes to the conclusion that Rats are responsible for this, so they need to go beat them up and get their cheese back. That’s all you have to go on with this swiss cheese of a plot. (Because Swiss cheese has holes. Haha. I’m sorry. The point of the game is to find the rats in various areas and beat them up to get your cheese back. Makes it sound a bit like a beat em up right? Well, more on that later actually. Sneakers is this strange kind of point and click puzzle game made on a console. You control your party of rats all at once and walk them over various areas and just have them check stuff. You'll point the cursor at things like wastebaskets or towels and then pick a mouse character to go check that stuff out. So say, for example, there is something large like the trashcan in front of you. You’ll point your cursor at the trashcan, hit a button, select the big mouse, he will go up and kick the trashcan over which may or may not contain a rat. If it contains a rat, the rat counter will deplete a little, and you will have time added to a little clock in the bottom right corner, (because for some reason the game is timing you on this, and if you miraculously manage to run out of time, you will game over.) And that is the entire game. Sometimes the rats aren’t even hiding anywhere. You can find them standing out in the open, point the cursor at them and press A, and they’ll just puff into smoke. There isn’t even a cute animation of the mice fighting them or anything. They just Ninja smoke bomb straight into rat hell. With that being said, there are occasional moments where you will find large clusters of rats. When this happens, you will be sent into this battle mode where all hell breaks loose. You have this strange open battlefield with rats running around like maniacs, and you can only use the sticks and press the B button to run up and punch them. There are no combos; there are no multipliers, no team attacks. You just beat the hell out of them with your fists and hope to god you manage to deplete their health bars faster than they deplete yours. It’s chaotic, unsatisfying, and an absolute chore. The hunting and finding and the weird battles are the entire game. There is no other depth, objective, or substance to the game outside of this. And as if the mind-numbing gameplay was bad enough you are constantly bombarded by the same music for the entirety of the game. There is no salvation from the same themes looping every 20 seconds in every area of the game. It barely even feels like a game, and it markets itself as this kid-friendly experience that, in reality, made young Chavo hide the game under his mattress so that he wouldn’t be reminded he owned it. I still cannot fathom to this day why Microsoft funded it as an exclusive for their console. I had my share of weird exclusives for the Xbox, but Sneakers stands out as one of the most bizarre, most boring excuse for a console exclusive I have ever had the displeasure of owning. So I implore all my retro hunters out there, all my physical game collectors and masochists that love suffering through bad games. For the love of all that is good in gaming. Leave this one on the shelf. ____________________________ Thank you for reading this silly little idea I had after being reminded of it in a discord conversation. Much like recommends, it’s incredibly fun to share what we like and dislike. Just as recommends is open to submissions and to staff input, so is Leave it on the shelf. If you have a game you want to talk about, go ahead and write something about it, PM it to me so I can take a look at the formatting and all that, and you might see it on the front page! Until next time, I appreciate the feedback!