Free games on the App Store generally come with a price after the fact. In the case of the humorously-titled Super Goblin War Machine, the developer really wants you to buy the add-on levels. We’re not knocking their desire to get the game out there and actually make money doing it, though– not when the game is so weirdly fun.
Super Goblin War Machine is controlled entirely by tilting your tablet left and right, jerking up to jump, and tapping the screen to fire your machine’s weapon. Even if you aren’t crazy about tilt-based gameplay, it works very well here and suits the dark yet absurd sense of humor.
Run away and destroy the circus.
In Super Goblin War Machine, you’ll take control of a large tank to destroy those pesky humans once and for all. The game is essentially a side-scroller with some platformer and shooter elements, and the object is to roll through the 2D landscapes, crushing all the humans and buildings in your way, then knocking the king (or queen) from their throne at the end of the run. You’re graded based on how fast you roll, the total damage dealt, and how many survivors on both sides remain.
Humans fight back with a variety of amusing units, from spearmen and hot air balloons to fighter jets. Finishing a level gives you an amusing round-up of the carnage, and the game’s overall sense of humor is simple, but endearingly dark.
The visuals are the same way. Taking place at night, Super Goblin War Machine is basically in black and white. While the individual elements in the game aren’t particularly detailed, the graphics are sharp and perfectly suited to the game’s themes. The audio work is quite good as well, especially the goblin noises.
The world’s scariest back massager.
Super Goblin War Machine comes with 19 levels, plus unlockable bonus stages. The core levels are short and go by amazingly fast. The bonus levels include attempting to knock a king as far across the level as possible, and shooting a giant boulder around a level to nail a specific number of humans. All the levels are entertaining, though the king knocking controls, in particular, are harder to master than they should be.
There are stores throughout the world as well, which let you customize your war machine. The war machine’s struts, wheels, and body can all be upgraded, in addition to a variety of guns at your disposal. The game boasts over a million different war machine combinations, and customizing your ride is a big part of the fun.
Admittedly, to get the most out of this feature, you’ll need to buy the expansion pack, which adds 17 more levels and a host of new add-ons for your wagon. The gameplay is entertaining enough to warrant the extra $2.99, but be sure to play through the basic free levels first to see if you like it.