What is Blood Dragon and what has it got to do with Far Cry 3? Those were the questions that buzzed around once news of this game "accidentally" leaked, and it's a question that remains even once you've downloaded, played and completed the thing.Blood Dragon may appropriate the style and tone of 80s cartoons – from the chrome-plated logo, through the testosterone-drenched dialogue, to its Vangelis-esque soundtrack – but Ubisoft's digital download spin-off to last year's desert island combat game Far Cry 3 has future-facing ramifications.

Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon lets players get the girl, kill the bad guys and save the world in a VHS-era vision of the future.The story unfolds through a series of 2D cutscenes that wouldn't be out-of-place in an NES-era adventure (well, except for the foul language and... other things). And when those scenes end, it's into a day-glo nightmare from the early days of MTV.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

In an age where the search for deeper meaning in our interactive entertainment pursuits begins after the first trailer — where more thought goes into post-game critical analysis than development — a game that bears its shallow soul for all to see is a blessing. "The game is stupid," Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon creative director Dean Evans proudly proclaimed— not foolish pride, but pride in foolishness.Don't go in expecting a traditional Far Cry game. Blood Dragon is philosophically, tonally, and mechanically the fundamental opposite of its straight-faced predecessors. It's like entering the imagination of a nine-year-old boy. Or my mind at age 25, honestly: These are action figures and super-powers come to life for an action-packed six-hours of open-world first-person shooting.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

In Blood Dragon the risk-taking, while welcome, is arguably in the wrong place. After 60 minutes' play, the joke wears away to near invisibility, and all that's left are the familiar systems that underpin the game. These remain enjoyable and, after the slow start, most players will be compelled to push through to the end. But there's an undeniable thinness here, the sense of a mild joke that's been eked out for too long, that can't fully wrap around the heft of the underlying game onto which it's been grafted.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon game

You start the game with the ability to sprint at top speed endlessly. You can hold your breath forever and can fall from any height without dying. Colt's arsenal, too, isn't hanging around. You begin with sniper rifle, machine gun and other tools already in your possession, and before long the game has decided you should probably have a minigun as well. You've already had a sample of what these can do, since the game opens with a wantonly destructive turret section in which you sweep past an enemy compound, finger on the trigger of a mounted minigun, decimating a bad guy fortress conveniently filled with exploding fuel tanks.

The hero, cyborg commando Rex Power Colt, has no limits. He doesn’t get tired from running at inhuman speeds, he doesn’t need air to breathe, he can survive any fall, and he rattles off more one-liners than a Paul Verhoeven anthology – all to the tune of a groovy synth soundtrack.Certain gags get reused more often than would be ideal, which can stall the comedic momentum. Butwhat occasionally brings Blood Dragon's pace to a halt most is its cutscenes – the 16-bit story scenes have a habit of overstaying their welcome

That's the tone Blood Dragon is aiming for: top speed, maximum carnage, no prisoners. Amazingly, it manages to sustain that hell-for-leather momentum for its playing time. This isn't a game that outstays its welcome, but nor is it one that feels indecently rushed. There are seven story missions, plus 13 enemy garrisons to take over, as well as sundry collectibles scattered across the map. The island is smaller than the sprawling location of Far Cry 3, and even when they're on opposite coasts you can still easily sprint from one marker to the next in just a few minutes, but everything has been very well paced. You'll reach the peak of your powers just in time to enjoy near godlike advantages for the last bits of mopping up.

Clearly, with this sort of armoury at your disposal, your journey through Blood Dragon's neon-splattered dystopia will not be a tricky one. The emphasis on relentless progression means that this is one of those topsy-turvy games that is at its hardest when you start and incredibly easy by the end. That's clearly deliberate - all the better to sell the 1980s action movie excess - but it does mean that you finish the game purely for the amusement rather than any meaningful challenge.

There are outposts to overtake and just enough side missions to keep you going

In short: the game is stupid, and it knows it. Set in the 1980s vision of a post-apocalyptic 2007, in which America is a nuclear wasteland, you become Cyber Commando Mark IV Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt. He's a recently re-commissioned robo-human soldier who is the only hope against an army of evil robot soldiers. But if the idea of a one-man killing machine with a personal arsenal of futuristic weapons isn't over the top enough, you can employ the help of the titular Blood Dragons. They shoot eye lasers and love to snack on robotic hearts, while performing all kinds of bloody mayhem.In story terms, Far Cry 3 was a dumb game trying to be clever, and it couldn't help but trip over its own feet as its climax approached

Do you want to hang glide across a neon-soaked island while shooting lasers at unsuspecting robotic soldiers and avoiding giant, bloodthirsty lizards? Then Blood Dragon is worth the price of admission. Ubisoft manages to deftly create a trite, cheesy and hyper-novelized world that never ceases to entertain or give up its high-value gameplay — and that right there is no joke.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is available on PC , Xbox 360 and  PlayStation 3