The Dink Network

Sour Gummy Worms

One of the many screens with ever changing enemies
December 30th, 2018
Score : 8.5 good
Peasant Male Pakistan steam
His infernal majesty. 
Oh, Skurn. Has any man in a tiny cult community been quite so legendary. And the versatility! From troll and creator of helplessly bad D-Mods to self-aware troll who uploads bad (and more recently, just plain unfinished) files with a nod and a wink. The reason I explain this, and indeed why I'm reviewing this piece-of-shit D-Mod when it's been over three years since it mattered - if it ever did - is that this D-Mod is one very big in-joke that you'd have to have been a regular on the Dink Network forums from at least 2011 to 2014 to understand. I have mixed feelings about having been in the middle of this ridiculous inner circle of flaming, trolling and shitposting and Sour Gummy Worms is a really good way to look back at it all. That's twice I've said 'shit' now, will this review get thrown out? Oops, I said it again.

The preview image and messed-up title screen alone make it clear that this is going to be not the usual 'Dink, you have a quest!' experience. Dink does have a quest, and it's to stop Skurn from making terrible D-Mods. Collect gems, kill fanatics chanting for Skurn, question your sanity, does it all really matter? The game throws you in at the deep end of craziness. Nothing is right. Nothing is put together correctly. It's all a shambles. And yet, somehow, when you can grasp enough to make a tiny smidgen of sense of what this D-Mod is all about, it's fun. Make no mistake, as intentionally awful as Sour Gummy Worms is, it's a unique D-Mod and very enjoyable to play on a bored afternoon. There was quite a bit of experimentation going on with this D-Mod - the kind where Skurn just threw everything together and made abstract art. The enemies are all sorts of tile and sprite graphics mixed up with different sizes and sometimes go invisible altogether. The surroundings are jarring mixes of different tile-sets, numbers talk (literally), giant bushes cast fire magic, and the musical choices are either jarring because they're beautiful or badass pieces in a D-Mod that's the gaming equivalent of a meth-head on the run, or the creepy musical motifs nudge you closer into believing that yes, you will go crazy if you play this D-Mod for too long.

The combat system, where the stats for both the player and the enemies can go impossibly high, is extrapolated to the point that it's barely even an RPG anymore, and therein lies what I found to be the most enjoyable aspect of Sour Gummy Worms: you can't really make sense of what anything is, but it is something. I did end up using cheats so I wouldn't have to grind so much, but later bosses made me think that making the player use cheats was Skurn's plan all along. Certainly, by the time I'd raised Dink's stats so much that the ATK/DEF/MAG had four number boxes instead of three, it was crazier than ever.

The humour in the game lends it a twang that made it much, much more enjoyable than any seriously designed D-Mod of a similar quality could have ever hoped to be. Skurn's self-awareness and the sheer dumbness of it all drag your standards down to the point that even the simplest of things is hilarious. When every single line of dialogue is misspelt and scrambled, and Dink spews anger and desperation, it's just funny to see a large number '1' being calm, articulate and acting like a proper English gentleman. You also meet several Dinkers of the era (including yours truly), and fight the really famous ones, and that was the in-joke that made the game way more enjoyable for me than it would be for new Dinkers, who were fortunate enough not to be around in that weird time. It's bittersweet really - the humour, the craziness and the feeling of being stuck somewhere between a nightmare and an acid trip are the best part of Sour Gummy Worms, and yet someone who downloaded the D-Mod without being aware of what goes on in the Dink cult would not understand any of it. Then again, I hope the blank, messed-up title screen itself is enough to turn them off.

Sour Gummy Worms is an underrated D-Mod. Even when it came out, reactions were mixed. It's a wild ride, yet I doubt anyone unfamiliar with Skurn's self-mythology would touch it with a ten-foot-pole. Skurn simply went crazy with this one, did some accidental experimentation, and the end result was better than even he expected. This was Skurn at his terrible best, before the rot of My Little Pony set in.