Poor Bob. While he was in the army becoming a national hero, his childhood friend John became a criminal. Eventually John set Bob up and got him kicked out of the army in disgrace. Vowing revenge, Bob found out where John and his troops were holed up and sabotaged the army’s plan to nuke the place so he could settle things himself, man to man. That’s the story of Guerrilla Bob.
Sure, it’s a silly story, but since when have you needed much of a story to run around and shoot bad guys on your iPhone? Guerrilla Bob is a dual-stick shooter game from Angry Mob Games that pits you–armed with a machine gun, rocket launcher, and flame thrower–against a crazy army wielding bombs, chainsaws, exploding barrels … and a bulldozer. The controls are fairly simple: left thumb controls the movement, right thumb controls the shooting (just like Robotron, for old folks like me). You start off with just a machine gun, but once you have more weapons just tap the icon at the bottom of the screen to change weapons. As you play, you can also look for weapon upgrades that will increase your rate of fire and damage done. Beating the game unlocks a survival mode, which puts you in a large enclosed space with constantly-spawning enemies.
My only problem with this sort of control scheme on the iPhone (and it’s not limited to this particular app) is that because it’s just a touch-screen and doesn’t have the feel of a thumbstick, it’s easy to slip off the active area which means I’m just standing there not moving while bullets are flying. Also, the small size of the especially-thin iPod touch means it’s not really comfortable to hold like a controller for too long–maybe something like this would help. (Except then I’d look like a dork with my iPod in an Xbox controller.)
Of course, the fact that my hands are cramping up probably gives you an indication of how much I played the game, too. It won’t present a super challenge, since the levels are mostly run-forward-and-shoot-the-baddies without too many side paths, but the graphics are pretty well done and it’s good for a few levels of blasting away. The characters are a motley bunch with goofy names like Rocket Rupert and Billy Pyro. My least favorite opponent was Johnny Boom, who chases you with an explosive barrel and blows up if he catches you. There’s a pretty good variety, but unfortunately once you’ve encountered all the villains they start getting a bit repetitive because you learn all their tricks.
I do like the graphics: the character animations are well-done and although you can see some of the sharp corners and edges of the polygon models, it works because everything is intentionally cartoony. I especially liked the little Guy Ritchie-esque splash screens shown when you encounter a new villain.
The game provides a few save slots so you can keep a few games going, although I did encounter a couple crashes while trying to switch between two loaded games. I haven’t been able to reproduce the crashes consistently so your mileage may vary. Guerrilla Bob also uses the Crystal leaderboards system but I tend to ignore those myself.
I’ve been informed that in the next few weeks there are several major updates coming, too, including a “Mercenary” mode and a slew of new weapons, from a baseball bat to a shotgun to a sticky bow.
Guerrilla Bob is normally $2.99 at the iTunes store, but this weekend it’s on sale for $.99. (Unfortunately I didn’t get the news until Saturday, so you’ve got today to pick it up if you want it cheap.)
Wired: Goofy shooter game with fun characters and upgradeable weapons; as a bonus, your life-meter is a burning cigar.
Tired: I’m not responsible for your hands cramping up if you play this for too long.
Disclosure: Chillingo provided a free download code for review purposes.