With World of Warcraft: Cataclysm coming later this year, gamers will take control of the werewolf-like Worgen race. In our minds, this may do for gaming what Twilight and vampires did for teenage girls. On the iPhone, NHN Corporation has taken a shot at the concept with Wolf Boy. Unfortunately, this side-scrolling button-masher is mostly an irritating grind.
The story isn’t prevalent in the game, but apparently it goes something like this: Wolf-boy Toto’s girlfriend has been captured by a flying evil electro-monkey, named Monk. Think of it as the Wicked Witch of the West’s winged primates vs. a mutated version of Dorothy’s dog. Anyways, your goal is to fight through level after level of Monk’s cronies and face him every five levels in a boss fight until he can fly no more.
Like many other side-scrolling games, there is a lot of button-mashing involved. However, with only a single combo move, your dash attack, there isn’t much to make feverishly hitting the attack button interesting.
On top of this, the game is extremely difficult. After defeating the first boss, you’ll need to attack enemies in the air while avoiding weird killer tomatoes that shoot lightning balls at you. This often results in jumping to avoid the lighting only to get stabbed by a flying bee humanoid anyway. In the end, you can’t really avoid taking damage.
Teen Wolf: The iPhone game
There are some positive aspects to Wolf Boy’s gameplay, however. The most interesting mechanic at play is transforming into a werewolf. Each enemy you kill fills up your moon meter, and once full, you can tap the full moon to enter into werewolf mode. When Toto is transformed, his health bar is swapped with a timer that tells you how long you can stay in this mode. Instead of enemy damage depleting your health, it will instead make the timer decrease quicker.
There is also an upgrade system between levels where you can update various attributes, such as Toto’s speed and attack power in both forms. However, after about half an hour of playing the game you’ll be able to max them all out, making this upgrade system feel fairly insignificant. You can also pick up health boosters and weapons from item boxes, but these disappear after you take damage, which is generally quite fast.
Wolf Boy certainly has an appealing anime art style. Everything looks very stylized and detailed, which is probably why the app is selling so well. But the nice visuals only make the fact that the game isn’t fun more disappointing.
These tomatoes are sick of getting chopped up in Fruit Ninja.
One last complaint we have is about the lack of online leaderboards. Even though there are unlimited continues, the game gives you a score when you die. We’d love to be able to see how our score compares to other players, and we hope this feature is implemented in a future update.
At the moment, we’d hold off on purchasing Wolf Boy. It’s a good looking game with an interesting concept, but it’s not worth the overall frustration you’ll get from playing it.