Linkin Park hit it big at the turn of the millennium with the album Hybrid Theory, which gave voice to the fears and bottled aggression of suburban teens worldwide. Looking back at this band 10 years later, we’re left with many questions, like why did that rapper keep interrupting their songs? And what were those teenage fans so mad about, anyway? Naturally, we turn our attention to their new iPhone game for answers.
Linkin Park 8-Bit Rebellion is a mix between an RPG and a 2D beat-’em-up. You play as an aspiring rebel in a world overtaken by a nefarious corporation called Pixxelkorp. For some reason the band Linkin Park heads up the resistance movement, so it’s from them that you receive your missions to aid the rebellion.
8-Bit Rebellion, starring your Facebook profile picture.
The missions are disappointing. They’re boilerplate affairs, often based on things like running around the handful of game areas and defacing X number of propaganda posters. Along the way you’ll also locate sections of a new, exclusive-to-this-game Linkin Park song called “Blackbird,” which you’ll be able to listen to upon beating the game. Depending on your musical tastes, this will either be a great reward for your efforts or a terrible punishment.
Eight recognizable Linkin Park songs make up the game’s soundtrack, but they’ve been converted into bloopy-bleepy 8-bit chiptunes. You can switch over to the originals at any time in the menu, or you can tap into your iTunes music to make your own playlist.
Aside from running missions, the other thing you’ll do plenty of is fighting. As you run around through the game’s six environments, you’ll be assaulted by Pixxelkorp officers, dogs, and the occasional maniac. Taking them down is no problem– just keep tapping the attack button, and they’ll die. Since they don’t attack very often and your health regenerates automatically, the game is extremely easy. Too easy, in fact. The biggest challenge is remembering where you can find the characters you need to locate. We should also note that we greatly preferred the touch-button control set-up to the default one. You can switch to it in the options menu at any time.
As exciting as it gets.
If you’re playing with an Internet connection, you’ll always see other players walking around in the background, distinguishable from NPCs by the screen names floating above their heads. You can friend, poke, chat, and exchange gifts with anyone you want. You can also post messages to large chatroom-like billboards in the backgrounds of the environments. In other words, if you want to make the game social by interacting with other players, you can. We like how the social element is there if you want to take advantage of it, but not necessary in order to complete the game. Overall, it’s very well implemented.
Even less essential than the social aspect are the in-game stores, where you can spend money you’ve earned by killing bad guys. In the stores you can purchase new hair styles, outfits, and furnishings for your home. All well and good, but you can’t buy new weapons or anything that has an effect on the actual gameplay. We ended up mostly ignoring the shops as a result, which is too bad, because you rack up plenty of coins if you kill every enemy you come across.
So, yes, Linkin Park 8-Bit Rebellion has its moments. But because the missions rely too much on fetching things, and the fighting is a button-mashing snoozefest, we just can’t recommend it to anyone but die-hard Linkin Park fans who simply must hear their latest song. For everyone else, it’ll probably just push you one step closer to the edge. And let’s face it: no one wants to break.