Serious Sam started out as a PC-only first-person shooter meant to parody most of the clichÃ©s of the genre and bring back the old-school style of massive battles, over-the-top action, and steroid-addled super-heroic protagonists. Coming from Croteam, it did its job very well, spawning a sequel and ports to a variety of platforms. For the third game, Serious Sam: BFE, Croteam did something new to help build hype. They put out an open call for indie developers to make bite-sized original, 2D games based on the franchise.
One of these indie additions is Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack! It’s a game that fits well on the iOS platform, taking the constant-running genre and adding a fun sense of humor and Serious Sam motif. The game switches sides, tasking players with controlling the exploding, headless kamikazes from the original shooter. These screaming, steroid-addled villains simply charge at Sam and explode.
Step on the bones of fallen foes.
Here, the challenge is to reach Sam before exploding, while avoiding or eliminating obstacles. Kamikazes can jump and kick, and the levels are fraught with dangers and oddities– rockets, grenades, frogs, cacti, fences, gaps, bombs, and other frequently bouncing or flying objects. The headless minion can kick most things out of the way, but attacking increases his rage meter. If the meter fills up, he explodes.
Since the hapless kamikaze must reach Sam before exploding, proper rage management is imperative. There are power-ups, such as extra lives to collect, as well point multipliers and rage-cooling water drops. Each of the short, side-scrolling levels has a bonus objective, such as kicking 30 frogs before the end of the level. These add some added challenge and interest to gameplay, but over the course of about 40 levels, the gameplay never really varies.
This repetition is the biggest problem. The game has a fun sense of humor, with enjoyable sound effects and one-liners, but the levels breeze by and tend to blur together. There’s an infinite mode, where players simply avoid obstacles as long as possible, but the overall game is a one-trick pony.
The visuals are an odd mix of primitive and quaint. The game takes the desert theme and cartoonish look of the original game, and mixes it with an almost hand-drawn style. The graphics are decent, but (much like the gameplay) end up suffering from an overall lack of variety. The other main problem with Kamikaze Attack! is simply that unless the player is already a fan of the series, there’s not likely to be much appeal to play as a minor bad guy from a PC shooter.
Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack! isn’t terrible by any means, and it certainly has some merits with its simple gameplay and irreverent sense of humor. Unfortunately, there’s just not much meat here. The gameplay is simplistic and the levels go by quickly with little variety to hold the player’s interest. Serious Sam fans will likely enjoy it, but most gamers won’t find it to be anything more than a minor distraction.