148Apps Network Post
Developer: Appy Entertainment
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 2.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4G

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Trucks and Skulls is what happens when a developer decides to take the Angry Birds format – physics puzzler where objects must be launched at targets encased in structures with destructible elements – and make it totally metal. Instead of launching birds at pigs, trucks are launched at skulls, protected by steel beams, surrounded by barrels of TNT and pools of lava to fall in. Oh, and there are lots of huge explosions. Trucks and Skulls oozes so much machismo that I feel my beard growing as I play it.

The strength of Trucks and Skulls is twofold. First, it is dedicated to its concept. The soundtrack is composed of guitar riffs and explosion sounds; all the levels take place in apocalyptic wastelands that would fit on a thrash metal album cover. The concept also expands out to the gameplay, especially the Total Destruction bonus. See, each level grants a 5000 point bonus for destroying every destructible object in it, which generally translates to an instant maximum 4 gear rating, gears being this game’s stars. With Nitro update’s Gold element for purchasing upgrades, level unlocks, and other goodies, destroying everything for the gold it gives makes it almost a superior strategy compared to trying to destroy all the skulls in one shot, like what Angry Birds tries to push players to do. The second strength of Trucks and Skulls? It is absolutely loaded with content, featuring 231 total levels, 15 of those new to the Nitro update, with extra levels available weekly to those who subscribe to an Appy newsletter. For $0.99 ($1.99 on iPad), this is well worth the money.

The big problem with Trucks and Skulls Is the control scheme. See, part of the reason that Angry Birds has succeeded as a cultural phenomenon is because the controls work; especially since the catapult mechanism makes it easy to adjust the angle and power without obscuring where the bird will fly; in Trucks and Skulls, the controls work forwards, with the angle and power aiming to the right of the launching point. This both obscures the view, and works in a more difficult way than most other physics puzzlers. Having the option to aim reverse, like pulling back on a catapult, would work a lot better than the current control scheme.

But really, the control scheme is the only glaring issue with Trucks and Skulls. It is fun, while reveling in its over the top concept. Trucks and Skulls is a mighty fine entry in iOS’ gallery of physics puzzlers.

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