Based on its title, you might think Bigby: L.A.P.D. is about a burly cop who protects the civilians of sunny Los Angeles. You’d be wrong. Bigby is a kid who wears a bear suit, flies around on a jet pack, and fights pirates and dragons by jumping on their heads. Here, L.A.P.D. stands for the League Against Pirates and Dragons, and Bigby is the enforcer.
So the game has a silly concept and a goofy sense of humor. It also has graphics and gross-outs worthy of a Saturday morning cartoon. Bigby looks like a cute kid dressed up for trick or treat, while the pirates and dragons look appropriately large and threatening. But as you find out early on, Bigby is up to the task of taking them down.
Avast, ye bear-suited kid.
The basic goal of each level is to get from point A to point B while eliminating the required number of enemies. But just about every level adds a new element, like giving you jet pack fuel so you can fly, or having the collectible parrots drop poo on you, or giving the pirates indigestion so they fart toxic green clouds that hurt you unless you’ve grabbed the proper power-up (the game’s not exactly polite).
The game has a lot going for it. So it’s really unfortunate that Bigby drops the ball in the control department. Instead of using the onscreen D-pad to move left and right, you have to tilt your iPhone or iPod Touch, which feels awkward. The D-pad is reserved to control Bigby’s flight, and it too feel stiff. But the real problem is the physics.
Adding insult to injury.
Bigby moves a little too slowly, and landing on the heads of pirates and dragons registers sometimes but not others. You can pass through enemies, but you get hurt if they strike. You don’t get knocked back when you take damage, though, so you’ll have to keep a close eye on your health meter. Also, it’s tough to tell which parts of the environment are in the background and which things you’ll need to jump over. The overall impression is that you don’t ever feel all that comfortable navigating through Bigby’s world.
It’s too bad, because the rest of the game is well executed. If they smooth these issues out, Bigby could be a real treat for gamers. But for now it’s probably best to hold off.