Animals of Mass Destruction Review

Whatever you may think about Animals of Mass Destruction as a game, you have to admit that it’s probably the best-titled App you’ve ever seen. Sadly, AOMD’s game experience didn’t live up to its name, so despite some fun moments and a refreshingly un-PC story, we’d be wary about purchasing this one.

AOMD begins with a lengthy in-game tutorial, wherein you’re introduced to your three heroes: a dog, a cat, and a bird. They all have silly code names and unique individual abilities–for instance, the cat has a stealth mode, the bird can hack computers, and the dog has a gun. Yeah, a gun. You see, the unnecessarily convoluted story line is in the rah-rah Team America vein, except here the combatants are represented by animals. Basically, you need to go and extract hostages from various locales and then torture them to learn about the next mission, so you can capture and torture even more hostages… and on and on. The War on Terror never ends!

After the tutorial, you’ve given a long list of missions to complete; if nothing else, AOMD offers up a lot of hours of gameplay for its cost. We just wish it were more fun. One big problem is that the game’s mechanics are mediocre. Rather than a tap/touch based control scheme–which would have made sense, given the overhead angle and the multiple characters you control–the bottom third of the screen is taken up by an ugly d-pad with a center button. The center button activates your selected character’s special ability, and around the d-pad there’s more buttons: one to switch between characters, and another to activate POWER mode (think Wolverine’s berserker barrage) as needed. It’s functional, but we found ourselves wishing that the game took better advantage of the iDevice’s capabilities.

The missions take place in a wide variety of locales, but they don’t play very differently from one another. You basically walk around each level, hiding from guards whenever possible, and using each character’s abilities as necessary to advance. There are occasional moments of awesomeness, like sneaking up behind Panda guards and mutilating them as the cat, to opening fire on gas drums with your shotgun as the yellow lab, but the puzzles never get very complicated. In fact, once you’ve seen everything a few times and have got the hang of it, the game becomes monotonous.

This isn’t to say all is bad. The graphics are pretty good. The character designs are pretty simple, sure, but they’re colorful and easy to see on-screen. The music is not memorable, but the sound design is excellent–guards mutter to themselves when alerted, and your heroes talk a lot of trash. It’s pretty entertaining.

AOMD is to be praised for taking risks and going in its own direction. Itt’s a much-needed break from the barrage of similarity that pervades the App Store. However, it’s asking a lot to pony up $5.99 for a game with as many shortcomings as this one. We’d rather spend our time and money watching Team America’s puppet soldiers kick the crap out of Kim Jong Il.

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