Bad is the new Good!
Cleverly subverting ye olde side-scrolling video game’s traditional principles, WackyLands Boss by Chillingo and FairPlay Labs (out now, $0.99) casts the player as the big, bad boss rather than yet another generic Mario or Sonic wannabe. It’s a fantastic idea, and allows for some tremendously enjoyable, tongue-in-cheek action as you stomp through levels smiting the good guys, chowing down on princesses, and generally being a butt ugly menace to society.
A brief but beautiful intro provides our monster with motivation for his impromptu killing spree. Some inconsiderate sod has decided to slap up a great bloody castle obscuring Ugly’s view of the picturesque Kingdom of Trogon and no doubt considerably decreasing the resale value of his beloved cave. Understandably our (anti) hero isn’t best pleased…
Having obliterated the eye-sore, it’s now time to let those pesky humans feel your wrath. A tutorial takes you through the basics of controlling your boss. Rather than go down the virtual D-pad and action buttons road, WackyLands Boss opts for an easily grasped series of swipes and taps instead. Touching on either side of the screen moves the monster in that direction, and swipes of your finger let you attack enemies, perform evasive maneuvers, grab interactive bits of scenery, and more.
Levels see you going toe to toe with waves of heroic types whilst reducing any fortifications that stand in your path to rubble. Pint-sized Knights scurry around swinging swords, squadrons of archers attempt to blacken the sky with their arrows, while an amusing smack-down with a rival big boss awaits you at the end of each stage. As you progress through the game more items, weapons, and a wide range of accessories are unlocked and can be purchased with pillaged gold. Defeating other monsters also triggers the ability to evolve, letting you assume weird new forms and take advantage of special powers.
Whilst playing, its obvious FairPlay Labs had a rip-roaring good time trampling all over convention – the game’s primary colored environments are deliberately reminiscent of platform games of yesteryear, making edible princesses a source of health is a stroke of genius, while watching a 20 foot tall freak sporting a pretty pink ribbon and a pair of ballet pumps laying into an army of titchy ninjas and knights is laugh out loud funny.
That said, things do eventually start to get a bit repetitive, with levels all following a predictable get from A to B, crush your enemies en route, and beat the boss blueprint. However, should you tire of what the main game has to offer, a selection of minigames, achievements, leaderboards and the like, mean there’s still plenty to do. In conclusion, WackyLands Boss is a visual treat from start to finish, and it’s charming presentation and infectious sense of fun ensure this review has a happy ending!
iFanzine Verdict: WackyLands Boss is unabashedly enamoured with it’s own clever role-reversing premise, and rightfully so, but arguably it isn’t taken far enough. Sure, getting to be the bad guy, eat princesses instead of saving them, and wreak havoc on a magical kingdom is a blast, yet it gets old surprisingly quickly. Thankfully then a host of entertaining customization options, minigames, and Game Center/Crystal extras give this title satisfying depth and longevity. All in all, one of the funniest games on the App Store!