Can Guerrilla Bob live up to the hype and topple his arch enemy John Gore as Twin Stick shooter extraordinaire?
Twin stick shooters have been popular for some time now, particularly on Xbox Live and the Playstation network. But the genre seems to have really hit it’s stride on the iPhone and iPod touch. There are too many to mention, but standouts include iDracula and Minigore. Both distributed by Chillingo, it’s no coincidence then that they have invested their efforts into pimping the latest twin stick goodness of Guerrilla Bob.
Created by Angry Mob Games, Guerrilla Bob sees you taking on waves of angry farmers as you push through 7 gun toting levels. However these are not just any farmers, they are the loyal army of one John Gore. That’s right, in a stroke of Genius, Chillingo have tied the stories of Angry Mob’s Guerrilla Bob and the Mountain Sheep developed MiniGore. The story is that they where once friends growing up, but jealousy of Bob’s glittering army career got in the way and made them mortal enemies. After John ruined Bob’s career it is now Bob’s turn for revenge. Cue then the gameplay in which you must battle through John’s army of gun toting, flame throwing, bomb tossing, chain saw wielding and rocket launching farmers.
What makes G-Bob’s enemies more appealing, than that say of iDracula and MiniGore, is the personalties of each of them. As new foes appear they are introduced in a Guy Ritchie style freeze frame, complete with caption, with names such as Boris the Bullet, Pyro Billy, Rocket Rupert and Bubba Gun. Of course giving them names make it all the more sweet to take them out, and to do so you have the choice of three weapons.
You start out with a rifle/machine gun, but before long you will pick up the flamethrower and rocket launcher. As you progress you can pick up weapons upgrades that make them both more powerful and faster to unload. The Rocket Launcher is more powerful and great for taking out gun turrets, despite it’s power it’s not great in sticky situations, that is best left to the machine gun which you can happily spray into enemies at a quicker rate. The flamethrower has even least range than the other two, however it is extremely effective at taking out Boris Bullet’s that are stationed behind sand bag walls. Bullets can’t penetrate the walls for some reason, so the flamethrower is perfect for this job, being careful of course to dodge the oncoming gunfire.
The majority of gun fights are with the smaller enemies such as Boris and his one shot rifle and Pyro Billy and his flamethower. These two can be taken out with relative ease by simply strafing side-to-side, but when you are up against Joe Bombero and Johnny Boom things get trickier… Joe will ensure you are not standing still for long as he tosses bombs at your feet, while Johnny is a kamikaze lunatic running at you with an explosive barrel. Being farmers of course means that inbreeding is common, which explains why there are so many of the same enemies, all spawning from green tents, which you must take down to progress through the levels. At the end of a level you’ll be confronted by a boss battle, this shuts you off in a smaller area where you must not only contend with the smaller fellas, but take out one of the big boys, such as Sam Butchefeller with his blood soaked chainsaw. Take him down and the level ends giving you kill stats and a rating.
To break up some of the more repetitive action elements, Angry Mob throw in a bit of a change of pace with two stages. One is a running section where a farmer chases you with a JCB, and the second sees you floating down the river on a raft, making it particularly challenging to dodge incoming fire.
The seven levels all work up to a final showdown. SPOILER ALERT!!! Here you meet John Gore for an intense one-on-one shoot-out to the death. This is a great battle, as not only does it present John in his full box headed, large pixel glory and with his great one liners, but they have also thrown in the clover power-ups from MiniGore. So, should John or Bob get hold of three clovers, they will be transformed into burning beasts, which deal far more damage. It’s a great bookend to the game.
While the main story mode won’t take you much more than an hour to complete, once you’ve finished off your old friend John, you unlock survival mode, which gives you endless waves of baddies to slay… much like MiniGore before it. There is of course hard mode too, but be warned that it will overwrite your previous unlocked levels and put you back to the beginning.
While iDracula and MiniGore look good, Guerrilla Bob takes it a step further visually. It looks like a Wii game (in a good way) with colourful and sharp texture work, and well rendered character and environmental models to create a great cartoon world. Sound is standout to, with a fitting soundtrack and funny voice work for Bob, such as singing “rolling on the river” on the raft based level, and shouting put down’s such as “say hello to my bullets” or “explode on this”. There’s enough of them that they don’t get too repetitive.
As with most arcade style games on the AppStore you have the ability to brag with friends. The game comes with Crystal, a new Social Networking system so you can share you scores and achievements with the rest of the world. It’s one of the better ones out there too, with a good looking and easy to use interface.
As you can probably tell, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Guerrilla Bob. There are a few things that could be improved. The story mode length for one, I’ll happily take a longer game anytime. Gameplay-wise they could make it more challenging too. I think the game could benefit from an ammo system, so instead of unlimited ammo for the rocket launcher and flamethrower, you would have to replenish them with ammo pickups. It would certainly make it less easy, and throw in a little bit of strategy for when to use each weapon type.
Overall, I would best describe Guerrilla Bob as a short, but intense experience. You could compare it with a Summer blockbuster like Transformers or Terminator, not exactly mentally stimulating, but a fun blast none the less. If you are looking for trigger happy thrills, then Bob’s your man!
Guerrilla Bob is out now for $2.99