Another FPS review in the same week. This one is a little more anticapted, with a well publicised delay in AppStore-approval-hell for having too much gore! This I find hard to believe, due to the fact that the game is about a farmer defending his crop of carrots from mutated and cyborg rabbits! It’s hardly a game stuck in reality and unlikey to cause little 8 year olds from going on a school rampage!
Anyhoo, enough ranting… how does this game stack up in the struggling iPhone FPS arena?
You play as a farmer, and using a variety of powerful weapons, must dispatch of a variety of nasty critters that are eating your carrots! But these are not your everyday rabbits, no, these are biomechanical varmints and they’ll take a little more force to take down. Luckily you have a variety of weapons in your arsenal, and you must roam the environments looking for the weapons before you can take them down.
The game runs very smooth, the environments aren’t huge, with most action taking place in rooms and not in the great outdoors. Still, it does look pretty good, and certainly has a unique style to it. The developer certainly put some effort into the creature designs.
In a good move for this kind of game on iPhone, the developer has opted for a more stripped down control system, by removing the need for vertical (up/down) look, which is more in line with FPS’s of yesteryear such as Wolfenstein and Doom. This gives you more time to concentrate on the action and less of where you are pointing. To move, you tilt the device in the direction you want to go and tap the fire button to shoot, pretty simple and works well for the most part.
The weapons are what make the game, which include: a sharp carrot for stabbing, the always welcome shotgun, a futuristic cattle prod… and a methane powered gun. They look awesome in the weapon selection screen.
The strange style and odd storyline won’t be to everyone’s tastes and might not be what they were expecting in an FPS. The game is a little on the short side, and with no mulitplayer death match there isn’t a huge amount of replayability on offer.
The controls work well, but beyond calibration, which I found a little wonky, the game doesn’t allow for control customisation. I think the option of a virtual d-pad should always be offered.
The biggest problem with this game, and it affects the overall experience in a big way is the exclusion of a map. The main gameplay requires you to rid rooms of a set quota of critters, and with multiple rooms looking very similar, it’s hard to remember where you have been. To avoid this frustrating back-tracking a simple map, highlighting the completed rooms, is much needed addition which I hope the developer will put in an upadte.
The bottom line
Hill Billy isn’t going to blow you away, it certainly doesn’t live up to the hype generated by it’s long wait in approval from Apple. It’s a good attempt at a first person shooter, and it’s unique look and feel might appeal to some gamers looking for something more original in tone. The lack of a map and control customisation affect the gameplay, and may put some gamers off.
Presentation and graphics
Unique in style, and runs well on the iPhone with some solid models and texture work.
Music is fitting to the Wild West theme, and the sound effects are fun, if a little on the smelly side!
It’s a solid shooter, but it’s hurt by the lack of a map, meening you can wander round frustrated when you should be having fun.
It’s a bit short for the price [back tracking not included!], and there’s no multiplayer deathmatch, which is expected in this type of game these days.
Hill Billy is available now for $5.99