Go funk yourself
All you really need to know about this game is that it features an elderly pensioner attempting to sneak through airport security with a sub-machinegun hidden in her hat. That’s it. Nothing else.
Well alright then, you’d probably need to know a little more, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this review (that is, unless you really, really like reading everything I write – don’t worry, I won’t flatter myself). Funky Smugglers is an arcade action title where you have to stop a cast of crazy 70’s characters smuggling illegal goods onto an airplane by confiscating them with quick swipes.
The game revolves around the X-Ray scanner which takes up the majority of the level. Characters walk through (but don’t drop their pants like in a real airport…or at least the ones I’ve flown through. Ahem), and the scanner highlights everything they have on their person, which as far as the contraband stuff goes, can include spiders, hacksaws, plungers, hammers and lighters. And yes, in the case of Grandma, a deadly weapon. Illegal items are coloured red, while safe items such as hats or pieces of fruit, are green.
As each person saunters through the scanner, you have to identify and dispose of illegal goods by swiping them away from the screen. In the case of multiple items, swiping them all at once gains you a combo score. I’m pretty sure UK Border Control would love to employ this method of working; would make their job much more fun. Accidentally confiscate too many green items however, and it’s game over.
Levels get increasingly hectic as you progress, with larger and larger combos ramping up the tension. Thankfully there are a number of timed power-ups to lend a hand, such as a magnet which attracts all illegal goods off the screen, and a slo-mo feature which gives you more time to swipe. 30 items? No problem. Unless you don’t have thirty fingers. I don’t. Big problem.
The controls work better than you think they should when swiping more than one item. It always feels slightly awkward to using two fingers to grab stuff, but the game seems to know what you want to do and you’ll fail because the increasing speed of characters passing through the scanner got too much, not because the controls were buggered.
The funky 70’s theme takes me back to the days where I wore bell bottoms, oversized shades and had a massive afro. Or in other words, last week. This game surely wins the award for best 70’s themed intro on the iPhone with a great soundtrack. Admittedly, it’s a category with little competition, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Character models are brilliant. Big and bold and nicely animated as they bop and shuffle through the X-Ray machine. The big black guy in the pink suit with the huge afro and the aforementioned Uzi-packing granny are a particular highlight. Also of note are…erm…the er…wait a minute, where are all the other characters?
It’s annoying when assets are obviously repeated in a game, but this is a bit weird. The whole of the first level is literally two characters walking through the scanner again and again. At times you’ll see four of the same character in a row. Something must be going on here.
Yeah. You actually have to BUY the rest of them. So half of what you’ve seen in the wacky photos won’t be available to you until you build up enough coins. You don’t have to spend any real money, but still. It seems a little mean to lock away character models that add nothing to the game other than a different body to grab things from. It’s not like a power-up or extra set of lives. What’s next, ‘Hey guys, we’ve updated the game with a new title screen! Buy it for £4.99!’
Ok, so I obviously don’t get that bit. But maybe I’m missing something because you can pretty much change the whole feel of the game with the ability to unlock new music, different styled scanners and even the items the characters attempt to carry through. Why on earth would a hippie bring a poo on a plane? Only a few people can answer that question. I’m not one of them.
Funky Smugglers is a good game with a slick look and enjoyable bite-sized gameplay which even though it gets a little repetitive, is perfect for those moments when you’re bored and stuck in a queue. An airport queue perhaps. Waiting to go through security. With a chainsaw tucked under your hat. Heh.
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