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Review: Fragger for iPhone

(5) June 16th, 2010

This is one of those “Why did I put this on my ‘to review’ list…” moments. I’m not going to make any secret about it. Shit’s about to get real. Fragger for the iPhone grabbed my attention when I came across it, as it was listed as the #4 app on the App Store (and had “frag” in the name, sending my Geek-O-Meter into overdrive). I enthusiastically tapped install, awaiting fulfilled promises of grenade launching ninjas smiting their enemies.

What I found however, was heaped portions of disappointment. Ohhhhhh let me count the ways. I opened the app to be greeted with a loading screen that says “Miniclip.com, Play Free Games!” immediately after paying $1.19 for it…. Cue death stare. I paused to check online and was disgruntled to find it was available for free online as a flash game. Strike 1, Fragger. I decide to keep playing, (might as well, I’VE ALREADY PAID FOR IT@^#%$!!), only to discover a complete and utter lack of personality, charm, or wit. Kill all the baddies with grenades that go boom. Why? What did they do? Where’s the backstory? Would it kill Miniclip to give me a reason to have a beef with these people I’m expected to blow up? If love is in the details, then Miniclip don’t love me. Why don’t you love me, Miniclip?! I gave you moneys.

The user interface is annoying to say the least. You’re given a certain amount of grenades and bad guys per level. You have a giant arrow helping guide the direction of the grenades, and a power meter inside it to dictate how hard you’re throwing them. Sounds great in theory. Until they put it right at the edge of the screen, and cancel your throw every time your finger even partially leaves the screen, which it inevitably does because it’s so freaking close. If you pull back the power meter and move the arrow, it launches the grenade upon you lifting your finger off the screen instead of requiring a tap to release like it does any other time. There seems to be a lot of times you have little to no control over when the grenade is actually launched if you mess around with the arrow too much. You have the option to “abort” the explosion of a grenade (it still counts as being used) and this I assumed was to avoid blowing yourself up if a grenade came rolling back towards you. But no, you can’t blow yourself up, that would be far too much personality and add way too much dimension to the game! Can’t have that. No no no. Strike 2, Fragger!

The 3 modes of play are Normal, Hard, and Elite, with a very slow loading screen from the first tap of ‘Normal’ onwards. I say first tap because it’s not obvious that you actually pressed the button, and the delay is so long you question whether you actually tapped it or not and keep tapping it until something happens. Normal Mode has 40 dull, mundane, head-desky, mind-numbingly boring levels you must complete before you’re allowed to make it harder (and hopefully more fun) by choosing another mode. After completing Normal Mode I was excited to see what the harder modes had in store, thinking this game might finally kick it up a notch and be worth playing. I was a sad panda upon discovering that the only change these modes make to the game is supplying you with less grenades. Are you freaking kidding me? I always had at least 4 grenades left over in Normal mode anyway. It’s the same levels, the same bad guys, the same ‘puzzles’. Strike 3, Fragger!

BALEETED.

In summary, do not waste your money. You can play this boringly easy game for free! It’s ease might indicate that it’s a game made for children, but personally I wouldn’t want any child of mine being told to lob grenades at someone for absolutely no reason (“I was just following ze orders mein commandant!”). The lack of personality and pizazz is a monumental mistake in the development of this game. What makes other similar games like Angry Birds so fun is the depth of variety, and the quirks and kooks of a well thought-out backstory. This has none of that. Sticky grenades would have killed them? Grenades that shoot out tiny grenades when they explode would have been too much to ask? They forgot to bring the diversity, and the funny, and to me that’s a staggeringly big mistake. If I gave stars this bitch would be in the negatives. Thanks for creating dark matter, Miniclip. Money back please.

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5 Responses to “Review: Fragger for iPhone”

  1. elroy says:

    Just went and had a bit of a play with the flash game and, while it’s entertaining enough, I doubt that I’ll go rushing back to play it. So, yeah – thanks for saving me that couple of bucks, because (being a fan of Angry Birds) I’d already been tempted to purchase Fragger.

  2. Simon says:

    I was disgruntled to read that you didn’t point out the obvious racism in the game.

  3. Leena says:

    Haha! Oh my god… there is too. I didn’t even notice that. You play a white man lobbing grenades at black people… oh dear. :S

  4. DeeJay says:

    On the topic of lobbing, check out Crush the Castle if you haven’t played it already: http://armorgames.com/play/3614/crush-the-castle

  5. Sarge says:

    I actually fell for the “you can play it for free online” thing with Crush The Castle – if there’s any game you see that’s by Armor Games, don’t buy it, because it’ll be on their site for free, and it’s exactly the same game.

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