Developer: Namco Bandai
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Skippy, the super-charged star of Namco Bandai’s Bird Zapper is back, and this time he’s zapping up armies of insects. It seems the birds weren’t up to his high-voltage attacks so they’ve hired mercenaries of the insect variety to stand in for them in Bug Assault. Skippy is ready, though, with a new way of electrifying his enemies.
Bug Assault actually reminds me more of Fruit Ninja than its prequel. Attacking bugs appear on a wooden background and players have to eliminate them, not by swiping, slashing or tapping, but rather by using two fingers to set the start and end points of a blast of current. All bugs in the path of the electrical storm are zapped into oblivion. But like the slashing produce games, there are thing - in this case ladybugs - that are to be avoided at all cost.
It sounds easy, but missing too many bugs or zapping a friendly lady quickly brings the game to a close. As different bugs of varying strength and speed fill the board, the difficulty increases rather quickly. Add to that some boss bugs that don’t fry easily and the action goes into high gear.
The backgrounds are boring and a let down after the lush opening art, but the bugs are bright, cute and come in 30 distinct 3Dish varieties, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Also adding to the fun, the combinations and patterns never repeat.
Bug Assault, however, is plagued with more than the little pests; there are lots of weapons that greatly improve one’s score, but they are available for in-game currency, and earning it is extremely hard. To take advantage of upgradeable tesla coils, bug spray and other perks players will need to pony up a lot of extra money or develop a lot of patience.
There is one IAP that’s worth having, however, especially if one likes a more casual experience or has little gamers sharing their iOS device. The Kid’s Mode is only $.99 and offers a mellow variant that I found more enjoyable than my eight-year-old son! There is also an Insectarium where players can collect creepy crawlies and get insect info, another element most likely to appeal to younger gamers and reminiscent of Fruit Ninja’s fun fruit facts.
While I actually prefer Bird Zapper’s gameplay, Bug Assault has a fair bit to recommend it especially the unusual control mechanic. It’s a solid pick, particularly for households with young gamers.