Adult Swim Games is establishing quite a reputation for itself in the iPhone gaming scene, and it isn’t a very good one. Meowcenaries is one of many recent online flash games that Adult Swim has pumped into the market for a decidedly un-free price.
So first, a caveat: unless you are dead-set on having a portable version of Meowcenaries, there is absolutely no reason to pay for it on the iPhone, because an identical PC version is available for free. With that said, this game is still pretty hard to recommend unless you’re a rampant LOLcat fanatic. And even then, the high price tag will deter all but the most ravenous LOLfans.
What’s more adorable than a kitten with a firearm?
The whole game is based on the cultural subset that has risen around the hobby of adding witty captions to pictures of cats. The LOLcats take center stage here, and just about the entire game is based on jokes and memes from sites like Icanhascheezburger.com. You’ll play as a set of four furry, uzi-toting kitties as you roam across the level slaughtering hundreds of “bad catz”.
The novelty is pretty paper thin, though. It’s the kind of game that suits itself well as a free flash game simply because it’s rather amusing to catch all the LOLcat in-jokes, but that wears away quickly. After that you’re left with little more than a basic shooter that is often just boring.
Hectic firefights are fun, but short-lived. The majority of the game is spent roaming across big maps trying to find the last enemy you need to kill before you can finish the level. This is one of the game’s biggest problems.
Many of the mission types are boring or flawed. One such mission type requires that you go into an enemy encampment to rescue some kitties that have been taken hostage. They are usually strapped to posts in the middle of the compound, and one shot from either you or the enemy will kill them. If you kill too many, you’ll be unable to meet mission objectives, and you’ll fail.
The problem is that your cats don’t fire at all accurately. They just spray bullets in the general direction you’re pointing, so odds are you’ll end up killing dozens of hostages before you manage to get lucky and make it through without killing too many of them.
Don’t go to the mushroom forest at night.
The levels aren’t fantastic, either. They’re essentially the same maps over and over again, but with slight visual overlay changes. Whether you’re marching through mazes of palm trees or evergreen trees, it’s all essentially the same thing.
The key to enjoying the game is to appreciate the small details that are included. If left idle for a few seconds, one of your kittens will put away his gun in favor of batting around a ball of string. Your kittens will also sprout speech bubbles above their heads that say things like “LOL!” and “kthxbai” every time you kill a Bad Cat. When it’s acting as a visualization of the LOLcat universe, Meowcenaries succeeds in being a mildly fun romp, but as a game it comes up short.
If you like LOLcats, then this game is worth a look if only for the humor, but play it for free online. There are a few redeeming qualities in the iPhone version, but even if there wasn’t a better version available, Meowcenaries would be tough to recommend due to its lame missions, generic levels, and often frustrating and random gameplay.