A Bug’s Death
Ever seen the movie A Bug’s Life? It’s an animated tale from Pixar that in my opinion should never have been made because bugs are irritating, annoying and quite frankly evil. A bug should have no right to life.
I enjoy killing them. Have done since I was a kid. That’s why I loved playing Bug Assault by Bandai Namco. Because I get to squash, slap, smack and electrocute them. And because it’s pretty darn good too. Can’t forget that.
The aim of the game is to kill bugs and kill them good. The whole thing takes place on a tree trunk where horrible, disgusting insects of all sorts trundle down from the top of the screen, where it’s your job to eliminate them.
You achieve this with a pretty fun mechanic – place two thumbs on the screen with a bug in between (I’m a rhymer and I don’t even design…er, her. Shut up), and a jolt of electricity will zap the critter into oblivion. Quite how you’re able to harness the power of electricity simply by touching a tree, I know not, but if it were true to life, a trip to the local park would never be the same again.
As an increasing number of spiders, flys, and other nasty creatures file their way down to you, catching them all with your electrici-tree (me = comic genius) can be a frantic exercise, especially as they start to saunter across in formations designed to catch you out.
What really makes it hard are the presence of untouchable Ladybirds. Electrocuting these drains your life and docks you points. Ladybirds are the Queens of the insect world. Who knew? I’ve had one sitting on my lampshade for the past five weeks, I might go tell it the good news.
So once the bugs come out in force and the Ladybirds get in the way, the challenge is only for the quick-fingered. The formations the bugs travel in also change with each playthrough to keep things fresh, and in addition to your special tree powers, you get access to a range of themed weapons such as Telsa Coils, Newspapers and Bug Spray that can be purchased using in-game currency and leveled up as you progress. If it were up to me, I’d take every available piece of equipment to the horrid things.
It’s an old-school game. Imaginative bosses punctuate each level and death leads to you starting the whole thing again from the beginning. Inadvertently shocking ladybugs carries harsh penalties that can get frustrating at times. Don’t try it in real life. It’s also well presented, with simple, clean visuals that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The title screen alone made me crack up. By that I meant laugh, not shatter into pieces. You’ll understand when you see it.
And finally, there are nice touches included that most 69p throwaway games wouldn’t bother with: a three second countdown after you’ve un-paused so that you’re not thrown straight back into the action, an Insectarium which displays the various types of bugs you’ve killed in glass bottles, complete with mini-bio, fun facts about real life insects (did you know for example, that ticks have no wings? I did, cos I’m well clever), achievements, and even a kids version of the game which simplifies things by removing penalties for Ladybird murder and gives access to all the weapons (unlocked for 69p, natch).
All in all, it’s a quality package, but it hasn’t quite turned me on to the idea that insects should be given the privilege of existence. In fact, if it’s done anything at all, it’s made me more bloodthirsty for their demise. Next fly I see is getting it.
Bus Assault is out now for $0.99. Get it on the