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Destructopus

Destructopus has had enough. For hundreds of years he’s taken his place in this world, hiding in deep sea away from those meddling humans. But now they’ve gone too far in their quest to dominate and pollute the world. Plus, they drilled through the roof of his home. Calling up a few of his old comrades, he’s sickened to discover that they’ve already been captured or killed. Recalling his ancient training to breathe out of water, there is only one thing on his mind: revenge, revenge, revenge…with a splash of rescuing his fellow prisoners of war.

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Leaping from the sea and landing in some grey inner-city hellhole, you control Destructopus by pressing the on-screen movement buttons, with left, right and down arrows available. With Destructopus being the height of the screen, the uncomplicated controls help you get straight to the retribution.

Moving across the city, you can chomp at buildings (high attack) and tentacle slap pedestrians (low attack). These actions are used by tapping either the top or bottom areas of the right-hand screen. All destructible scenery has a red target, displaying where it needs to be struck. It’s a simple setup; however, there is a tiny – but noticeable – delay between pressing the screen and seeing the low attack happen. And at times it’s not clear if a low or high attack is required; having the targets highlighted by a corresponding colour would have identified this.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those pesky humans that have been polluting the world aren’t kind to this sort of retaliation. So out comes the army in a bid to put an end to your shenanigans. What they didn’t expect was that you’d be able to duck incoming missiles and whack soldiers into the air with a satisfying splat when they land. Harking back to the days of Rampage, this is an easy to pick up and play, vibrant game whose bold aesthetic stands it out from the competition.

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Using a comic book style to introduce the game quickly catches the eye. This continues into the ocular style of the game, with the gargantuan creatures being colourful and well drawn. When not stomping through a city you’ll be on a world map screen similar to old Nintendo platformers, where you can move between circular points to choose a new level or revisit an earlier location.

The aim is to rack up as many points as possible. Consistent destruction of everything and anything man-made will keep a bonus meter running. Take damage and you’ll lose your bonus, with multiples at the end depending upon your performance. As with many iOS platform games there is a three star rating system for each area, encouraging replays to achieve a full star score.

As you give buildings and the army a noble clout there are animals in distress to be saved. Every run of annihilation ends with the rescue of imprisoned animals, who without your help would have shortly been processed for profit. Sonic would be proud. As you rampage through cities as Destructopus, a guitar led 16-bit music score plays. There are tanks, planes, bikes with blades attached, men with rocket launchers and the occasional boss to thrash as you chew and smash your way through each location.

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This old-school approach – with its colour palette – allows the game to try and be educational without coming over as preaching. At the end of levels you’re given an option of posting an environmental topic on your Facebook page. Not using the site means I can’t report exactly what happens, but it appears to cover issues from pollution to access to clean water. The game means well.

After the chance to wow internet friends with your in-depth environmental knowledge, you can head over to the fruit and vegetable store to purchase goods. Here power-ups can be bought to help against the corrupting corporations who’ve been slaughtering your friends and poor old planet Earth. This can be extra speed or a new weapon. Unfortunately Destructopus follows a trend that grates on me – paying for more content. If you want to try out the second character or some of the new weapons you’ll need to pay for the ‘additional’ content.

The game controls fine, but the left movement button often obscures some of the action. With the button located at the bottom of Destructopus you can’t see the detail of small buildings exploding or claw connecting with some soldiers face. This is exaggerated in more hectic situations. As more bullets rain in it can feel chunky and hard to concentrate on dodging the tiny incoming bullets.

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Ducking can be unresponsive at times too, often because the button is hidden under your thumb when moving forward. Also, you can’t charge your laser attack when laying low or duck mid-attack; ducking should override the current command, especially when some of the incoming bullets are difficult to detect. Having other unlockable (not paid for) characters to play as with different moves would have added variation and replay value.

Spread over five locations, it doesn’t take long to clear the game. You’re then encouraged to try and achieve three stars on every level but there’s little motivation to go back and play through it again. Destructopus’s bright, 16-bit vibe works well and is fun. But like Rampage before it, there’s little variation or much reason to go back once you’ve played through.

6 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is the Deputy Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @shaneryantb.

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