Minigore—definitely mini when it comes to gameplay

Posted: July 29, 2009 in Arcade, Shooter

Hype is a vital marketing tool in generating anticipation, and no place is the audience more impressionable and susceptible than that found in the iTunes gaming community. Minigore is the latest highly anticipated game, which to be honest after playing this a bit, seems to have been based more in the marketing than in the actual game. Don’t get me wrong, the game offers decent gameplay and eye-catching visuals, but it’s nowhere near an epic game…at least not yet.

You play John Gore, a heavily armed comedic fellow who looks more or less looks like he was left behind from an old Lego set. He’s deep in the woods in a land called Hardlan, and he must defend himself against Furries that come in all sizes. Note I didn’t say shape because the only shape you need to know in Hardlan is square. Everything has a squarish feel to them which is actually a great looking art style. The countryside looks like lush and green with plenty of trees and rocks, but not much else besides that other than Rambo-like soundtrack that rounds out the package. Local and online scoring through OpenFeint is available as well as flip screen and the ability to play your own music.

The game uses a dual-stick control scheme consisting of a blue pad on the left side for steering our little Gore fellow and a red pad on the right for aiming and shooting. The controls work very smoothly and accurate…one of the better controls systems out there. As far movement, you can basically move John Gore wherever you want through trees and rocks and even through Furries.

This is a survival shooter meaning there is only one level and focuses on high scores, which at this time makes Minigore somewhat shallow, although additional chapters in future updates may remedy this. An extra game mode is Expert, and this increases the number of Furries that attack. In lieu of a healthbar, John Gore basically loses pieces of clothing when he gets hurt or hit, and right now he can only take two hits before he goes to the Big Gore in the sky. One nice feature is that John physically changes when he’s injured so he will lose a hat and show some blood. Beyond though, I’m disappointed that John Gore can die after only two hits, which limits the length of time per game session.

The Furries comes in four different versions. First is the Minifurry which is the smallest of the bunch. My favorite is the Firefurry who is a little speedster with baring teeth and flaming fur. Then there is the Furry which is bigger and splits into multiple Minifurries when shot. The big kahuna is the Giant Furry which also becomes Minifurries when hit. While additional enemies have been promised for upcoming chapters, this is another area where the game could have used some variety.

The animation and controls run smoothly on my iPod Touch 2g. But, while the gameplay itself is entertaining, it’s shallow. Humorous voiceovers support John Gore in his rampages against the Furries, but this follows the typical survival shooter. John Gore is armed with a machine gun by default, and additional power ups are randomly available through the destruction of Furries. Pick up an ammo box, and crates will appear that can be shot to reveal a shotgun or booby traps for Furries. Shooting Furries can randomly generate four-leaf clovers. An interesting power up because upon collecting three of them, John Gore transforms into The Beast…think The Incredible Hulk. In Beast mode, John Gore is invincible as a fiery monster who can steamroll anything in his path. Of course this is temporary and a clover gauge in the upper left corner will slowly deplete.

Minigore as an opening chapter certainly doesn’t live up to the hype, but it’s cheap entertainment with the potential for more in future chapters. It’s a fun game that for most, won’t last more than a few days on their devices. But, the expectation for more content will keep it in people’s iTunes libraries for the foreseeable future.

Albie Meter: 3.5 Stars (recommended for the cheesy voiceovers and the great art style; gameplay is shallow for now, but expected updates make this one to watch)

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