Army of Darkness Defense (iPad App)
Created by Backflip Studios
For those folks who have jumped on the iPad train (I'm one of them), there is no end of entertaining and addictive video games to enhance your tablet. Back in 2010, Bruce Campbell stated at Comic Con that his classic movie Army of Darkness was coming to the iPhone. Well, the good folks over at Backflip Studios, the folks behind strangely addictive games like Ninja Jump and Paper Toss, decided that the iPad didn't need to be left out of all the Deadite goodness either, and have released Army of Darkness Defense (HD).
If you're unfamiliar with Army of Darkness, you really need to close this window now and find it on Netflix. We'll wait. Back? Good. To recap, Campbell stars as Ash, a smack-talking buffoon who somehow manages to get sucked back in time where hoards of the undead (Deadites) are after Lovecraft's mythical book of arcane knowledge, the Necronomicon. Donning a chainsaw for a hand and weilding his trusty boomstick (which is a shotgun), he leads a medieval army against the powers of evil in what became a cult classic of hilarity and horror. The game is an approximation of one of the movie's climactic battle scenes, in which Ash (you) attempt to defend the Necronomicon against an invading army of... well... Darkness.
This game is a straight-up walk-and-shoot. The character of Ash goes either left or right and calls upon his allies in the form of peasants, swordsmen, archers, and other characters from the movie. He also has at his disposal a variety of special weapons like his Boomstick, the "wrong book" (which sucks injured opponents into hell), flaming arrows, magic words (which he can never remember), and others. Through fifty levels of play, Ash and his allies attempt to keep the ever-increasing mob from breaking through and stealing the Necronomicon.
Backflip Studios did a lot of stuff right with this app. First, inclusion of a whole bunch of Bruce Campbell's dialogue from the movie makes this app a love-letter to geeks everywhere. The animation is quirky, and falls somewhere between the Leggo video games and a Loony Tunes adventure. The inclusion of all the movie's key elements (like the demonized Sheila and the "Deathcoaster") are all nice touches. The game's bad-guys even include the flying demon Deadite and the old woman who was arguably the creepiest thing from the movie. You're allowed to upgrade your various weapons and characters by picking up gold coins from inside the game, bringing their power levels to ridiculous proportions.
On the down-side, you're still only walking left and right. You don't really have any other control over what your character does. He fires automatically, pauses, then fires again, while you're busy calling up reinforcements. You have a seemingly unlimited number of soldiers (read: cannon-fodder) upon which to call, and while some are tougher than others, there comes a point where you can stack them just as deep as you want and slow the enemy's advance while you wait for a super-weapon to charge. The background stays the same, as every "level" is the same as the one before, just with more bad guys.
If you're a fan of the movie, the game is like nerd-candy. Not particularly deep, but is a squee-inducing bit of coolness for your iPad. And, like most games that come out of Backflip Studios, this one is also oddly addicting. It's worth playing, if for no other reason than to watch the Deathcoaster mow down a whole bunch of skeletons and zombies. And, to be honest, most folks aren't looking for a deep RPG on their iPad. This is exactly what it's intended to be: Simple, effective, and a fun way to waste a few minutes (or even hours) of your day. You can get it through the App Store for a mere $.99. Groovy.
4 out of 5
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