Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics/Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Funky Smugglers has style. It has funk. It has all the hallmarks of an addictive arcade action game with a great tune behind it. It might even have a suggestion for how to make the TSA seem less the dour organization it has become, though probably not.

The mission is straight-forward: passengers are trying to get on planes but need to be screened. They pass in front of one of those big x-ray screens, à la the original Total Recall film, and fingers are used to swipe out the red objects from their various hiding spots. Spiders? Bombs? Various other objects that certainly won’t fly? All of them have to be ousted before the passenger boards, otherwise health is lost. Also, don’t hit those green objects or suffer the same.

This just continues as long as it takes, with points accruing based on each object, but also growing in size for the longer the combo is held. Hold down the finger long and slowly snake across the screen to pick up more and more objects, and toss them before they all drop and fumble.

Which, of course, isn’t all there is to this title. There exist power-ups to help speed or slow things down, or perhaps even magnetize the various objects to the finger as it swipes its way across these bodies and hair-dos. Various missions also exist, offering different challenges for altering the style and gameplay: perhaps it’s tossing these items without accruing combos, or getting long strings of combos, or not losing a life. The screen may say missions, but it’s better to view them as challenges in a game whose pace keeps picking up, though the basics don’t really change.

If I have any qualms about the game, it would be having to deal with the afro. There is a black man who walks by, and quite frequently things are stuck in his afro. This seems to be a fairly popular mainstream idea, though it grows tiresome in terms of the various social and political issues surrounding black hair. While I understand the ’70s motif, and the desire to have all manner of inclusivity of what made the ’70s so culturally rich, sticking things in a black person’s hair seems like something that we should take a break on for a while.

However, the game does deliver its funk and fun quite readily in both its gameplay and in the graphics and groovy beats. While it seems this might get old after a while, played in short bursts, it actually has a lot of legs, with each play earning coins to unlock different music and themes.