Updated: Fangz Review

You can’t keep a good vampire down for long, and like a good vampire, Fangz has risen with a new update that addresses many of the grievances we had previously expressed. No longer are you constrained by meters and timers that penalize you for jumping too much–or even existing–thus allowing you to focus on what you came here to do: Wreck some vampires’ stuff up.

There is still a limit on how much you can jump, now given its own meter to prevent you from dodging too much. This is complemented by a new set of varying difficulty levels, new perks to spend your delicious brains on, and a less aggressive continue mechanic.

At the same time, the new continue mechanic still doesn’t apply to the sublevels in which you don’t have to kill vampires in order to progress. Even on easy mode, these levels dole out damage and can eat up your ammunition in no time, providing a rather steep challenge by the sheer number of endless vampire hordes descending upon you.

This review was originally published on April 26, 2013. It was updated on May 28, 2013.

Fangz has a lot going for it. It’s a side-scrolling beat-’em-up/shoot-’em-up starring a man of Peter Griffin-esque proportions and wit who runs around a ruined neighborhood, smashing and shooting vampires of all shapes and sizes.

There’s nothing too fancy going on here, as you move from left to right (with some slight vertical movement as well), killing vampires with an assortment of weapons. You begin with a baseball bat, shotgun, and pistol, but you can upgrade to swords, rocket launchers, light sabers, and more as you progress and earn money (all without the need for in-app purchases).

Unfortunately, the game can feel a little too aggressive against the player at times. This isn’t for the number of vampires swarming at you from all sides (though there is plenty of that), but the hero’s girth is a tremendous liability. You have to reach the end of each stage within a time limit, lest your hero start losing health and keel over from a heart attack, and even the simple act of jumping reduces your life further. As a result, attempting to dodge an attack is nothing more than a calculated risk as you weigh what will do more harm to you: trying to avoid the attack by running and failing, or jumping away and losing some life anyway.

There is a continue system in place, but it’s nothing short of worthless, save for if you enjoy watching yourself die the same way over and over again. You gain little to no life in doing so, nor any more time. At one point, we were grabbing health items, but even combined with our health upon continuing, it wasn’t enough to even withstand a single hit from a vampire.

Even better was when, after continuing a few times, the game all but refused to respond: The action buttons indicated they were being touched, but did nothing until we paused and restarted the level. Perhaps this was just a one-off glitch, but it came up pretty early on and left an unpleasant impression nonetheless.

The game looks good, with a cartoon-style charm that makes the gratuitous bloodshed and flying body parts easy to ignore. In addition, there are some fun bits of dialogue with different characters along the way, including “Vampiric Alien Life Forms” (or “VALF”) from the planet Melmac and gangsta vampires who call their group “Team Jacob” (they know he’s a werewolf, but cannot resist the allure of his lips).

For the most part, Fangz is a fun and humorous take on the side-scrolling beat-’em-up genre. But, as any fan of the genre knows, continuing is pretty much part of the experience, and even without the other factors working against you, this game just gets that part so, so very wrong. As a result, we advocate caution when considering a purchase.

  • http://twitter.com/GameWhizzes Game Whiz

    Hey there! Thanks for the review.

    We just released an update that addresses the issues you didn’t like in your review.

    There are no timers now, there’s a new jump mechanic that doesn’t take your energy, there are difficulty levels (and in the default difficulty level, vampires don’t jump at you) and there are new perks to spend XP (brains) on. Best of all, no IAPs.

    There are still some sublevels where the continue button will take you to the beginning of the level, but that’s by design, since in those levels you’re not blocked at all by vampires. Fangz now issues a warning at those levels.

    Cheers,
    Alex

  • http://twitter.com/GameWhizzes Game Whiz

    Thank you for the updated review! This has been a hard journey, but sometimes I get wonderful surprises like this :)

    Cheers,
    Alex