Star Hogs: Online & Campaign Battles

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Star Hogs: Online & Campaign Battles is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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ADD, Star Hogs Nearing Release

Developer IUGO set aside part of their E3 schedule to shock us with arguably the most inappropriate iPhone title we’ve ever seen. And we totally mean that in a good way!

ADD, or Another Dumb Distraction, is a collection of mini-games that that most definitely skews toward our more baser comedic tastes. To be honest, it’s straight up, immature toilet humor–in other words, the best kind of humor.

Better start diggin’ for gold!

Much like its title would suggest, ADD fires off mini-games in randomized, rapid-fire fashion, each requiring no more than a few seconds to complete. The goal is to go through as many games as possible on three lives, or one if you’re on the Hardcore mode. Each subsequent mini-game has a shorter time limit, so things can get pretty intense in a hurry.

There’s a wide variety of games, for sure, and as a whole, they do a good job taking advantage of the iPhone’s capabilities. Some of the game types involve snapping off a rat tail in the locker room with the accelerometer, picking the correct urinal (guys, you know what we mean), and virtual nose-picking.

“We’re anticipating the option that [ADD] could get rejected,” IUGO director of business development Sarah Thomson said. “I think we might be pushing the limits with our future updates.”

CEO Hong-Yee Wong said they wanted to get the game up first with relatively safe content, and then take the big risks in the updates.

The eternal pee dilemma: Cleanliness vs. awkwardness

IUGO is guaranteeing three updates, which would push the total number of mini-games to 108. ADD will launch at full-price, somewhere between $4-5, and will be submitted to the App Store some time in the next two weeks, Thomson said.

IUGO also showed us Star Hogs, a turn-based strategy game set in space. The game clocks in at about 6-8 hours of gameplay spread across 32 maps, Thomson said.

Gameplay is based around a planet with an asteroid belt, which is a different shape depending on the planet. Players take turns shooting a variety of weapons, like rockets or cluster bombs, at each other until there’s one left standings. Multiple actions can be used during each turn, determined by an energy bar on the HUD. Each side can use multiple ships of varying types, ranging from intelligence to straight combat, during each match, if they can afford it.

The learning curve is based on figuring out the trajectory your missiles based on the gravitational pull of the planet. Star Hogs does a good job taking the guesswork out of walking your missiles in, which is handled through a marker on the shot power meter. The power level of your previous shot is labeled so you can adjust accordingly.

“I’ve never played a turn-based strategy game before in my life,” Thomson said, who also added that she plays the game quite often now, unlocking all the levels. “But this is a game you can learn at a good pace that won’t frustrate you.”

Boom goes the dynamite…

The game’s multiplayer mode will feature play over the Internet, supporting up to four players. Matches are ranked with an online leaderboard to keep the game balanced, Wong said.

Star Hogs also is due for submission to the App Store in the next week and will launch between $3-4, Thomson said.

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Star Hogs Review

Star Hogs is part loving homage to the classic franchise Worms, part insanely technical space opera, and entirely awesome.

IUGO nailed the artillery gameplay, and then packed the game full of weapons, upgrades, features, and play modes–resulting in something that turn-based strategy lovers can really sink their teeth into.

Yessir, that’s my baby!

Though Star Hogs is filled with porcine puns, PETA can relax; no pigs are harmed during play. Instead, you’re piloting a team of one-man space rigs (kind of analogous to the Earth-based “Hawgs” made by Harley Davidson) that alight on an asteroid and blast the crud out of the opposition.

The space warriors take turns trying to kill one another, first dealing out whatever punishment they can, and then bracing to take it back. IUGO makes fantastic use of multitouch to keep movement, camera control, and weapon selection easy and intuitive. Attacking is as simple as setting the angle and power of your shot.

Attacking effectively, however, is not so simple. It takes practice to land a rocket on a distant enemy, because gravity is in full effect. This includes 360-degree free fall, allowing for circular battles on the surface of a globe-shaped asteroid, for instance. Too much power, and there’s a decent chance your shot will fly all the way around and blast you in the back.

The environment is partly destructible, too, turning the game into a real physics playground. If you can destroy whatever your enemy’s sitting on, it’ll fall into oblivion, giving you the win. Plus, certain asteroids cough up bonus cash and power-ups when blasted. These can help a lot.

Energy limitations force you to think carefully about what you can accomplish in a single turn. A Hog starts out charged with 100 energy points, and every movement or weapon use from there depletes the store until it hits zero. This creates an elegant trade-off between offense and mobility, while opening up new combat strategies that involve sapping your opponents’ energy.

Gravity and energy factor majorly into your Hog’s configuration, too. Every piece of equipment you unlock and purchase in Star Hogs–and there are many–weighs you down when added to your rig. So, installing heavy equipment seriously limits your mobility, unless you compensate with boosters.

Ow! Cut it out! Ow! Ouch!

Space Hogs’ upgrade, customization, and fleet management stuff is completely out of this world; the level of control you have over your Hogs is pretty astonishing.

To begin, you can buy one of three basic chassis for your first Hog (a fourth unlocks later), each with different stats and numbers of possible slots for weapons, body upgrades, and tech upgrades. It costs money to buy new stuff (you can trade in old items for a discount), as well as to open up fresh upgrade slots.

A new item unlocks for purchase every time you beat a level in the single-player campaign. Missiles, shields, armor, thrusters, guns, mines, excavation tools, healing beams… the list goes on, and on, and on. Not all of this stuff is as useful as, say, homing missiles, but it makes for a dizzying array of possible ship configurations.

Add that to the fact that you can buy, outfit, and command multiple Hogs, and you are looking at a lot of tactical options. For example, you could command a combat rig for shooting bad guys, a support rig for healing/disruption, and a speedster for zooming around and grabbing powerups. There are combos within combos.

You won’t have to stretch that hard to beat the single-player campaign. The AI is decent, but it feels like an unnecessary slog to unlock all the goodies piece by piece.

Online multiplayer is clearly the main attraction. This is where the game’s genius is on full display, as fellow Hoggers come at you with majorly crazy, tricked-out armadas.

There’s a points ranking system, match-making, and private games. Turns are limited to 30 seconds each, insuring that the game moves along briskly. We’d like to be able to customize that limit, and adding chat would be a good idea, too.

The one real problem right now is that almost nobody is playing, so was difficult to get a game started. We imagine that the ranks will fill out given time, though, and the handful of games we got in on were a blast.

Star Hogs’ graphics and sound rock even harder than its gameplay. The kickass metal soundtrack has more wailing guitars than a hair band convention. The Hogs are detailed little 3D models that spit rocket-guided death. The camera zooms and moves smoothly.

For $4.99, Star Hogs is basically everything a turn-based strategy fan could hope for, and it will prove to be a great buy for many an action gamer, too. There is enough depth here to last the right kind of player for months, especially once online play really kicks into gear.

IUGO Announces Starhogs, ADD

Developer IUGO released some screenshots for its upcoming titles Starhogs and A.D.D. today.

Starhogs, releasing in April, bills itself as a turn-based strategy game, boasting “20 ways to kill someone” through 32 levels.

From the developer: “Rig up your hogs, strap yourself in, and head out into orbit for the fiercest battles this side of Uranus.” Kinky.

Coming up in May is the aptly titled A.D.D. – Another Dumb Distraction. Pretty sure the screenshots speak for themselves, but here’s how IUGO sells it: “Blast through 60 mini games jam-packed with humor, culture, controversy, and personality.”