Generally speaking a pig wouldn’t stand much of chance against a meat cleaver wielding butcher with a hankering for a plate full of his favourite Cumberland sausages, but when that little swine just happens to be the “mightiest, jet-pack warrior pig in the known world” the outcome suddenly isn’t quite so clear-cut.
Rating off the chart on the old weird-o-metre, this is the brilliantly bizarre premise for Joystick Generals’ first foray into Appstore gaming, 2D dodge ’em up Super Turbo Action Pig.
The aim of the game is straightforward, as are the controls, meaning STAP has pick-up-and-playness in the bag from the word go. Although putting the game down again is significantly harder to do!
Your mission is to bring home the bacon in one piece by navigating your way through an aerial obstacle-course littered with all manner of death traps, ranging from razor sharp spinning saws to menacing looking mines, by tapping on piggy’s turbo-thrusters to move him up and down the screen.
This task made more difficult by Butcher Bill hurling devestating special attacks in your direction every few seconds (strangely Bill’s slaughter-house is well stocked with weapons of mass destruction). Each obstacle you successfully avoid adds another point to your score, while snouting out elusive golden sausages poses an extra challenge and earns you OpenFeint bragging rights.
Now this non-complex dodging mechanic and one finger style of play might sound a tad tedious, but is in fact surprisingly exciting, largely due to STAP‘s unforgiving difficulty level. One wrong move and you’re dead meat, so manouevering the heroic hog through Bill’s sausage making mine field becomes a painstaking process requiring split second timing, nerves of steel and lots of tentative tapping.
Failure may be frequent, yet frustration is allayed by one of the most hilarious death sequences I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing (I’m not a psycho honest!). I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say it involves copious amounts of red sauce.
People might well whine that this little piggy lacks depth – and yeah, a campaign mode and a few power-ups or weapons wouldn’t go amiss – but you’ll most likely be too busy snorting with laughter and loading the game up for the five hundredth time to care.
In short, while it may be repetitive and puerile, it’s hard not to be endlessly entertained by this rollicking ride; c’mon, it’s got a piece of pork strapped to a jet-pack, what’s not love? An early contender for the best (and downright funniest) indie iDevice game of the year and deserves to soar straight to the top of best-seller list. That’ll do pig, that’ll do.
iFanzine Verdict: With its hilariously high-concept premise, fingerlickingly great gameplay and outlandish eye-candy, Super Turbo Action Pig has the potential to be this year’s answer to Enviro-Bear 2010. Only better.
iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ