App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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As most games march ever forward to be bigger, better, and more ambitious than their predecessors, there are few games that decide to move in the opposite direction. Ammo Pigs: Armed and Delicious is one such game, promising to let you “relive the glory days of 2D platform gaming.” Unfortunately though, Ammo Pigs trades in archaic game design without any sort of nostalgic hooks or modern twists to prop itself up with, making for an experience that falls pretty flat.
Ammo Pigs starts out promisingly enough. The game is set in a future where slaughterhouse AI has pulled a full Skynet and wants to kill all life and turn it into sausage. Only you, a pig with a gun, can put a stop to the madness.
With this setup, you then play through level after level, wandering through slaughterhouses to rescue defenseless piglets and laying waste to any enemies that stand in your way. Your primary goal in these levels is to simply make it to the exit alive, but managing to do so with more rescued piggies in tow is preferable.
The gameplay in Ammo Pigs isn’t sophisticated. It's a 2D action platformer that gives you just three forms of input (move, jump, shoot). Given that the game also has a pretty simplified pixel art aesthetic and simple level design, it seems fair to say that Ammo Pigs seems to be going for a throwback vibe.
Despite the simple level layout, Ammo Pigs brings some variety to its gameplay through its enemy design. There are some robots that just dumbly walk around and hurt you if you touch them, but later levels introduce drones that shoot at you and others that cling to ceilings and can shock you if you accidentally jump into them. There are even yet other enemies that present more danger if you kill them, making Ammo Pigs a little more complicated than a mindless shooter.
Where’s the meat?
Ammo Pigs may be trying to make a throwback, but simply using old game design and aesthetics don’t automatically make a game feel like a quality throwback. This is Ammo Pigs’s core problem. The game itself doesn’t feel like it’s “throwing back” to anything in particular. It’s just a generic 2D action platformer that doesn’t make any gestures toward creating something new or honoring something old.
Every level follows the same basic structure and—excluding a few different enemy designs—nothing really changes. You use the same simple controls, rescue piggies (or don’t, as the game doesn’t seem to mind either way), and repeat. I’m sure this might be reminiscent of quite a few old games out there, but not anything that is particularly memorable or worth revisiting.
The bottom line
Aside from the mildly interesting conceit, Ammo Pigs doesn’t have a lot going for it. It feels old and thin, and does very little to make what is there feel interesting or nostalgic. There are droves of better 2D action platformers on the App Store, most of which will leave more of an impression on you than Ammo Pigs will.