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Monty Python's Cow Tossing: Fetchez la vache!

This Python-inspired iOS game tries its best to rip off Angry Birds, but doesn't manage to deliver the same smooth, compelling gameplay. Run away!

Monty Python Cow Tossing offers some unique twists on Angry Birds, but comes up short in the graphics, sound, and humor departments.
Monty Python Cow Tossing offers some unique twists on Angry Birds, but comes up short in the graphics, sound, and humor departments. Zed Worldwide

Talk about a can't-miss idea: an Angry Birds-style game based on the cult classic "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Instead of flinging birds at pigs, you fling French cows (and other presumably French barnyard animals) at King Arthur and his knights. Sprinkle in clips from the movie and some unique gameplay twists, and you've got pure gaming gold.

In theory. In reality, Monty Python's Cow Tossing (also available for iPad) is missing that certain...special...something [cue music].

The game works on the same basic principle as Angry Birds: fling stuff at your enemies until you've destroyed them. In place of a slingshot and a limited supply of birds, you've got a catapult and unlimited animals.

So where's the challenge if you have unlimited "ammo"? It took me a while to figure this out, but the knights (i.e. your targets) are piled atop a battering ram that slooowly creeps toward your stronghold. If it gets there, you lose the level.

You can adjust the height and placement of your catapult, though I rarely found this to be necessary. What's more, various power-ups (and occasional power-downs) drop from the sky at regular intervals; if you time your shot so that your "weapon" hits one midflight, it immediately gains (or loses) an advantage.

What do the various power-ups/downs do? You'll have to squint at the game's tiny help pages to figure it out. One example: fling a turkey at a falling axe and it turns into two projectiles (body and, um, severed head) instead of just one.

All this should add up to great fun, especially for a die-hard Python fan like myself, but Cow Tossing comes up short in the most important area: gameplay. Maybe it's because everything onscreen is so tiny, or because the herky-jerky framerate makes the action awkward, but the game just doesn't "feel" right.

I will say that after I got through the first 10 or so levels, which are extremely easy, things started to get more interesting, and I started to enjoy it more. But I still couldn't escape that feeling of something being missing. I guess I expected more humor, or at least some Python-ish sound effects (mostly you just hear explosions). Monty Python's Cow Tossing needs less tossing and more Python.

At 99 cents ($1.99 for iPad), the game won't break anybody's bank. It did, however, turn me into a newt. (I got better.)