Updated: Destructopus Review

Joy of joys, Destructopus has engineered an update that improves the game’s controls substantially. Instead of tapping on the screen at different levels to initiate attacks, now you simply push clearly-marked buttons that let you bite and scratch.

The Destructopus’s attacks are still specific to certain heights; if you want to go after an airborne enemy, you’ll need to chomp them, whereas a tank can only be tamed with a claw (breath weapons/eye beams can take down most enemies at both levels, but firing them effectively takes practice). As a result, things are still a bit confusing when projectiles start flying thick and fast, but the specific action buttons will keep your brain from tangling beyond repair.

Destructopus is a game about a crab-clawed octopus monster who deems it necessary to wreak slithery vengeance on the polluters of planet Earth. Its destruction-based gameplay is tremendously fun on paper, but unfortunately, awkward controls makes it feel as if you’re manipulating the game with your own pair of giant crab-claws.

Our tentacled anti-hero begins the game slumbering deep under the ocean. He’s rudely awakened by the activities of some off-shore oil drillers. When he surfaces, he quickly learns about the less-than-pristine condition of Earth and resolves to do something about it. That “something” largely involves tearing up cities and flattening members of the human race. Let’s face it, nothing would restore the environment faster and more efficiently than the entirety of the human population going “poof.”

Do the monster crawl.

As the mighty Destructopus, you crawl your way through cities, wastelands, and the wilds. You bash buildings, tanks, bulldozers, and make a mess out of the soldiers who try and stop you. Think Rampage, the arcade classic about monsters wreaking havoc on various cities– except Destructopus also has you rescuing furry critters who are being ground up for tiger-skin carpets and ivory.

The Destructopus itself comes armed with a pleasing number of natural weapons. By tapping certain portions of the iPhone’s screen, you can unleash claw attacks, bite attacks, eye-lasers, and fire-breath. Sadly, using these weapons will tangle your fingers in no time. Moving the Destructopus involves pushing on-screen “Forward” or “Backward” buttons, and reaching your right thumb over far enough to make sure your attacks are properly executed can be awkward. Moreover, if you don’t tap the right portion of the screen, you won’t execute the proper attack, which can be crucial for taking down enemies– you can’t smash a tank by biting the air, for instance, but you’ll end up accidentally attempting it more than once.

Die, puny humans!

Troops attack you relentlessly, which compounds the problems with the game’s controls. You need to duck certain attacks, and stay upright to avoid others. But sometimes the enemy fire comes so thick and fast that it’s impossible to dodge, especially as the Destructopus is not a creature that is small and agile. What’s more, having your thumbs all over the screen blocks out many of the soldiers and missiles that you need to avoid or attack, and they end up walloping you.

As the game progresses, you can pay for upgrades, and that alleviates some of the problems. You can make the Destructopus tougher, for instance, so he can take more attacks, or you can invest in a projectile weapon. This is highly recommended, as the funnest bits of the game involve roasting and zapping buildings and planes from afar.

Even with the upgrades, though, Destructopus is difficult to control and therefore difficult to enjoy. It’s a shame, because otherwise the game boasts lovely pixel-based graphics and some pretty cool bosses. Sadly, you’ll have to do something else to benefit the environment other than run around Earth as a giant, vengeful octopus. We recommend switching to reusable shopping bags.

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