Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Bill Killem is an all-American badass who likes to do nothing more than ride his hog. Unfortunately aliens have invaded the premiere of his new movie, so it’s time for Bill to send them packing.

Chillingo is no stranger to retro side-scrollers, so the same standards of presentation are here in Bill Killem. From the crisp pixelated graphics, to the 8-bit drum’n’bass, to the wise-cracks from Bill himself, it looks and plays extremely well.

20140530-193437-70477823.jpgTo avoid being abducted by the UFO on their tail and delay Bill’s inevitable probing as long as possible, players need to keep moving while collecting the clocks atop the rooftops to extend his running time. It blends the gameplay of an old-school platformer with the urgency of endless runner, which was a refreshing change. However, staying alive isn’t easy when attacks are coming at Bill from all angles by chainsaw-wielding aliens, air strikes, and killer death rays from above. It’s all about successful timing and taking advantage of the weapons stashed in the crates along the way. From bazookas and mini-guns, to the temporary special abilities including ‘magic’ jumping, jet packs, and force fields, players have everything they need to complete the bucketload of mini-missions available to them.

The controls are extremely responsive, and although they can’t be reconfigured I rarely hit the wrong button by mistake. In true retro platforming fashion, there are only 4 buttons (forwards, backwards, shoot and jump), and they are each placed in the most convenient and comfortable place possible.

20140530-193437-70477621.jpgEach run is different thanks to the shifting stage design, randomized enemies, and the timer that keeps everything moving along nicely and far from ‘endless.’ Enemies can often come in droves, but unless they’re of the chainsaw variety only their energy blasts can harm Bill. It strikes a good balance between challenging and simple.

Although it soon becomes very apparent that Bill Killem‘s shelf-life is limited (thanks to samey enemies and the repetitive environment), Chillingo has the formula for retro side-scrolling platformers so finely tuned that it can’t really put a foot a wrong where this genre is concerned.


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