What happens when you give a giant octopus the power to destroy nearly anything?
Wrap your tentacles around the new $1.99 iOS game Destructopus, a '90s throwback arcade side-scroller from Glitchsoft that unleashes a Destructopus hell-bent on rescuing the world.
Why would something so evil-looking want to save the globe? According to the lore, the deep-sea Destructopus is actually peaceful, despite having a vile visage. After being accidentally awoken by "greedy industrialists" during a century-long slumber, the big, bad cephalopod comes ashore to right what's wrong. Fueled by an appetite to rid the world of pollution and reverse the course of a dying world, this "green" monster slowly works his way through cities to destroy corporations and save trapped endangered animals.
When I first played Destructopus on the iPhone 4, I put it down after a couple of minutes. I thought the game looked great and had a sense of polish, but it didn't really engage me. I'm sure I'm not the first one to download and play a game, then go on to delete it after the first few minutes. The controls felt awkwardly placed at the lower left side of the screen, and sometimes I hit buildings and they didn't explode when they were supposed to (it didn't happen too often). After a couple of hours, I tried the game again. Things got progressively better as I went through the levels and more attacks and perks became available.
I hate to admit it, but dying also kept me interested. I think for a game to be successful, it has to make you think it's easy to advance while also keeping you challenged by hindering your progress based on performance. The first two levels are barely challenging and don't represent the difficulty found in later levels. Once I played through some levels, the game took a different turn. As I slowly slithered down the road, helicopters assaulted me constantly, and I had a new option to shoot energy beams from my Destructopus to destroy the flying nuisances. The longer you play, the more strategy is required. I also liked the fact that if you kept attacking things, a multiplier would increase with each successful hit.
I found some other nice touches, like a shop to purchase power-ups and extra abilities. These let you dodge attacks more efficiently, acquire flame breath, tougher armor, improved aim, extra health, and other improved weaponry. With these add-ons, which you can earn by collecting points, your Destructopus can be truly devastating and survive some of the later levels.
What's next for Destructopus? An iPad version will eventually slide down the road, according to a rep from Glitchsoft. I inquired about Retina Display support, and while it's not supported on the first version, it is a strong possibility. The reason the developer didn't include it initially is because it wants the game to fall under the 20MB over-the-air App Store download limit imposed by Apple.
Destructopus is very fun, original, and carries an admirable message. However, I wouldn't mind shooting a laser beam at the price tag to drop it down a dollar.