Wackylands: Boss turns the whole side scrolling beat-em-up on its ear by giving you control over the most sought after component of the typical game – the end boss. You finally get to prove to the world that not every ending is a happy one (though wouldn’t it be happy for you?) You’ll traipse through a variety of environments, crushing your foes and evolving your monster to make it the best, baddest boss it can be. And, if you need a bit of a diversion there are three mini-games that you can play to practice your hero-bashing skills. Being an evil monster has never been so fun.
You start the game as a fledging monster, with but a few gold coins your name and the desire to wreak havoc across the land. Initially you’ll just get to torture the population with basic hitting moves. As you progress through the game you’ll start to evolve and learn new skills, and eventually get a stomp move, flaming breath, and other nifty tricks. Some are generic and some are dependent on your evolutionary “chasis”.
As you gain experience you’ll unlock new base creature types that you can evolve into. Each type comes with a unique stomp move and special attack. Plus, they all look different. You’ll be able to mix and match things like eyes and hands, but it’s the body selection that gives you a particular power. You’ll also get to buy things like weapons, armor and hats to improve stats like attack, defense and speed. Keep in mind that all equipment effects all stats, so don’t choose something just because it looks cool.
Throughout the levels there will be items you can pick up to help you defeat the good guys. Things like cows, poison barrels and exploding robot princesses do some decent damage as you pick them up and roll them through the crowds. Should you happen across a real princess you’ll definitely want to scoop her up – that’s how you recover your health. You may not finish a level the first time through, but you get to keep any gold you’ve earned for the level and you can continue the level from where you left off. Or, you can go back to a previous level to earn more money and try and level up.
The levels are full of good guys just trying to make sure you have a bad day. You start out with your typical knights and archers. As you progress you’ll start getting things like ninjas and cannons, and my personal favorite so far, the guy that looks suspiciously like a Link knock-off. Each has a slightly different means of attack – some long range, some short range and a couple with both. In the end, however, they’re all going to do everything they can to hit you as much as they can.
The controls are easy to understand but not always easy to execute. To move left or right you touch and hold the respective side of the screen where you want to move. To attack you tap the screen, and to do a power attack you swipe horizontally towards the side of the screen you wish to attack. To dodge you swipe from top to bottom, and to pick things up you swipe from bottom to top. The problem I have with swiping motions in general when it comes to games is that it tends to prevent you from getting any sort of rhythm or flow. It will be interesting to see how the D-pad option in their next update alters the game play.
The graphics in Wackylands are wonderful. Everything is bright and colorful and finely detailed, and the animation is pretty decent as well. I love the little touches like furniture on the lawn or UFOs in the background beaming up stuff. The variety of different accessories is also neat. It’s fun to swap out weapons or armor or even creature types and see how it affects your creation. The cutscenes are great as well, capturing the “look what my kid drew” style that every parent knows oh so well.
The sound effects are good, but there’s too much repetition. Noises like the knights make when they are running are classic Saturday morning cartoon sounds, and the screams when people get lit on fire are hilarious. Every single character makes the same noise, however, which is pretty disappointing given the range of adversaries you face. It’s obviously not crucial to game play, but distinct sounds make the world seem more alive. The music is decent, but it’s pretty standard fantasy fare. The truth is that you won’t notice it that much when the action gets hectic anyway.
Wackylands Boss is a nice twist on the traditional side scrolling action game. I’m not sure that there’s really innovation in mechanics or anything like that, but it is fun being the big, bad boss. Not to mention the fact that it’s the rare game where you can play dress-up and still feel like a man! The graphics are top notch, the sound is amusing, and the creature evolution is pretty neat. This is just another notch in Chillingo’s ever lengthening belt of App Store hits.
Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]