Those of us old enough to remember the Martin Short film ‘Inner Space’, will understand the premise of this game right away. Those who don’t, well it’s pretty simple. GUTS tells the story of two losers who happen to come across a mad scientist lab, and stumble into his latest creation, a ship that can be shrunk and travel about the human body.
He injects you into a Soviet leader, and you must cure him of his various health problems throughout his body, before finally exiting through his presidential sphincter! Each level takes place in a different part of the body, and requires certain objectives to be completed. So for example, starting in his throat, you must extinguish his halatosis problem, or when you reach his stomach you must treat some peptic ulcers, and remove gastric bugs.
This story is told through some well illustrated, and funny animatic storyboards. The character art looks great, as do the various menu screens, which has a touch of the Gorillaz art style about it. Unfortunately this style isn’t carried through into the game itself so well, with things looking a little uninspired. Presented as a 2D Lunar Lander-style side-scroller, the animation is a little minimal on both your ship and the enemies, which is a shame. If more time and effort was put into the game art itself and not just the cutscenes and menus, it would look and feel more considered as a package… instead of looking a little lost identity-wise.
The controls don’t fair well either. To move your ship around it’s the usual boost and steer mechanic of Lunar Lander, with gravity pulling you down. A big green boost button takes car of momentum, while tilting your device points you in the right direction. This all works well enough, though the turn sensitivity is a little exagerated for my liking, but it’s the combination of ship control with shooting that things start getting problematic. To shoot an ememy, you tap it to target it, then hit the big red fire button… sound simple enough right? However, you cannot tap an enemy at the same time you have your finger on boost, which is just crazy on a multi-touch device, makes it all to easy to crash. Another problem, which is just poor screen layout, is the fact that it’s very hard to target an ememy at the top of the screen, without accidently hitting the pause button. Overall it’s a very frustrating experience to control.
GUTS looks good for the most part, and the 80s 8bit style music sounds great. But, it’s let down by gameplay which is mediocre at best. If this was priced at $0.99 then I would recommend to give it a try, however at $2.99 I would be wary, when there are better experiences to be had.