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.