Kick-A*s: The Game


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iPhone Gets Kick-Ass In April

While news of a superhero movie tie-in is pretty groan-inducing for console gamers, iPhone gamers should know to get excited. While these games are often terrible on consoles, their iPhone versions (like Iron Man) are usually quite good, and much cheaper.

The latest game to take a swipe at the iPhone superhero market is the upcoming Kick-Ass, a thriller about non-superhero teens who take up the cape to stop crime. The iPhone game is a fully 3D brawler set in levels based on the movie, and will allow players to control one of three characters from the movie: Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, and Big Daddy.

WHA Entertainment, the developer behind the game, promises to stay true to the film with tons of action and gore. We’ll get to see more of the game when it makes its official debut at the Game Developers Conference next month.

Currently the game is slated to launch on April 15, to coincide with the film’s release on April 16. You can check out the trailer below.

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Kick-Ass: The Game Review

Even with some amazing iPhone movie tie-ins out there like James Cameron’s Avatar, these types of games are often put out just to make a quick buck. True to form, Kick-Ass: The Game stands out as one of the worst movie-based games on the platform. In other words, it’s Suck-Ass.

Disappointingly, the game follows no real story. Each level is preceded by a comic book cutscene that has no relevance to the missions. For some reason you are after a group of thugs who attack by bumping into you. Why? Who knows, you just are.

There are 12 levels in total, each of which has you playing as gun-toting superheroes Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, or Big Daddy. All three characters are practically the same, offering up the same special attack that kills every thug nearby. The only difference is their main weapon, and that some shoot faster than others.

Same bat time, same bat channel.

Where Kick-Ass: The Game really takes a beating is in the production values. For starters, the game is nearly impossible to control. The characters seem to slide quickly across the floor when you slightly move the left stick. This also applies to shooting with the right stick. Kick-Ass’ movement seems to be a little tighter than the other two, which is odd since he is hovering above the ground on a jetpack and Hit Girl and Big Daddy must move in on foot.

Kick-Ass: The Game is aesthetically unimpressive as well. Even though the graphics have a low-polygon count, textures are low-res, and animations are basic, there still tends to be slowdown on our 3GS. Enemies pop in on the screen and randomly disappear once you kill them. The sound effects are equally poor, with uneven quality and poor editing. It all feels like a bad cut-and-paste job.

If you’ve got a jetpack, why not fly above the thugs?

One of the major issues with the gameplay is that the camera angle is top-down and zoomed way in, meaning you often don’t see enemies until they are right in front of you. Oddly enough, the first level of the game actually has a slightly behind-the-shoulder view. This should have been consistent throughout the entire game, as it is currently impossible to see what’s going on most of the time.

Between levels you are bumped back to the menu. You can then use money to upgrade your weapons and armor. Also, along the way you collect points that can be put towards extra special attacks per level or more health.

Terrible as it is, the game is also lacking content in a big way. The 12-level campaign can be beaten in about half an hour, and after that there are four survival areas that are rehashes from the campaign. Only your top local score is saved, and there are no online high scores.

Want your Kick-Ass fill? You’re not going to find it here. Instead, we recommend checking out the eight-issue comic book series on your iPhone using the Comics app from Comixology. Don’t waste your money here, or prepare to give yourself an ass kicking for it.

Kick-Ass Hands-On Preview

The red-band trailers for the movie Kick-Ass hit the Net not long ago and quickly went viral. That’s what happens when you give Nicolas Cage an awesome mustache and have snarky teenagers commit acts of brutality in the name of crime-fighting hilarity. The videogame tie-in for the iPhone and iPod Touch that will be released at the end of the month seeks to capitalize on that fun.

A two-stick shooter in the vein of Guerrilla Bob, Kick-Ass the game has you take control of three characters from the movie and use them to riddle endless streams of enemies with bullets.

Unlike many entries in the genre, however, this game has objective-based levels and a story. Some levels require you to survive for a certain amount of time while baddies charge at you from all directions, and others have you save a certain number of civilians from harm. The story plays out in comic book-style cutscenes between levels. And like an extreme sports game, the music here is made up of rock and punk tracks that add energy to the gameplay.

As you run and gun, you’ll rack up cash that you can spend on health items and weapon enhancers. In addition, you earn upgrade points that you can spend to make your characters withstand more pain and pump up their firepower. Each player also has a limited number of super-moves that hit all enemies in range.

The normal mode is where you play through the levels with objectives, but as you power through you also unlock stages in the arena mode. The arena takes its cues from traditional two-stick shooters like Minigore, and has you try to survive as long as possible against an endless stream of bad guys. Here you can rack up points to spend on goodies and upgrades that carry over into the story mode.

The preview build we played was pretty buggy, but we’ve been assured that the developers are working to fix the problems before submitting it to the App Store. Based on the latest screenshots they’ve sent, the graphics have improved quite a bit since the build they sent us. As they’re tidying things up, we hope they add a pause button, as well as leaderboards for the survival mode.

In any case, we hope the game and movie end up being as fun as they look. Kick-Ass the game will be released on the App Store toward the end of April.