Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
What is a gibbet? It’s a funny sounding word, but what does it mean? A gibbet is “any instrument of public execution,” be it a guillotine, impalement stake, or hanging gallows. Horrific stuff, but it’s still a pretty funny sounding word. This contrast been amusing first impressions and violent actualities is what makes World of Gibbets not just fun, but darkly fascinating.
Divorced from its morbid subject matter, World of Gibbets is simply a physics puzzle game about hitting targets, much like Angry Birds. Instead of shooting birds at pigs though, players control a bow and arrow and use it to shoot down people who are hanging to death. Again, it’s pretty horrific stuff. However, this switch effects the design in interesting ways beyond just pure shock value. Time is very obviously running out for the poor souls turning blue, so players have to act fast. The noose itself is a fairly small target and while some bloody collateral damage is tolerated, the only way to earn stars that unlock more levels is to clear a stage without harming the freed victims.
Once players acclimate to the disturbing premise they’ll find that World of Gibbets is a well-made puzzle game on its own merits. Most of the over 100 stages have some mechanic that make the game more than just aiming shots. For example, by hitting the teleportation target players can transport the bow to a better vantage point. In another stage, hitting the shield target will temporary protect the victims while players then hit the target that launches an indiscriminate flurry of arrows. Some arrows have special attributes like being able to travel through walls. Meanwhile, bonus stages even have players fending off hordes of hungry farm animals, and headshots are encouraged. Exploring these different abilities and chaining them together is what really makes the game so fun; not the sick thrill of watching cartoons asphyxiate.
World of Gibbets is actually an upgraded flash game and it carries over the same amusing ragdoll physics along with a new storybook barnyard visual style. Although the graphics and sound seem somewhat simple, making the animals and farmers so cute gives the violence even more impact. Unfortunately, the only time the joke doesn’t quite land is when the strung up victims happen to be dark-skinned. However unintentional, this creates very charged and uncomfortable negative imagery.
Still, anyone looking for some jet black comedy in their simple little puzzle games should definitely checkout World of Gibbets. Don’t leave this one hung up to dry.