Obliteration [rating: 4.5/5]
It’s been 10 years since Zombies first appeared, laying waste to everything. Those lucky enough to be away from the main continents were able to regroup in Greenland and survive.
This is how Jonathan Mulcahy introduces his iOS and Mac OS X physics game, which has an art style where everything on screen is styled as if it is drawn with coloured pencils on graph paper, and then cut out to be arranged into objects in your play area. At first grasp the game looks fun, but seems awfully simple. How does it hold up when being played by a hardcore gamer like me!?
I was dubious. I have to be honest. When I first fired up Obliteration, notwithstanding its $1.99 (on OS X) or $0.99 (on iOS) price, I honestly thought that this game was not going to hold my attention for a reasonable amount of time. How wrong was I!
An hour later both my wife and I were crowded around my work MacBook Pro, taking turns to alternately try and blow up enough buildings the right way to get that damn white line below the annoying red one! Frustration was interspersed with giggles as we alternately messed up, or launched zombies into orbit with well placed bombing runs.
Obliteration is super simple to grasp. It doesn’t even need a touch screen or a mouse really. You could play it with one finger, either tapping a mouse button, or a touch screen on iOS. You have four bombs, and a plane that flies in bombing runs back and forth across the sky. Below it is a city, full of tiny zombies. You do not control the plane at all. You simply tap your mouse button once to release a bomb, and then either wait for it to hit the ground, or (as we gradually learned) perhaps go for an air blast by tapping the mouse button while a bomb is still falling past buildings.
Once your four bombs are spent, you should have obliterated the buildings below, and scattered their various parts around the screen. But all of them must be below a red line drawn across the screen on each level – or you do not progress. And that’s it.
Each level in Obliteration seems carefully crafted to vary the level of difficulty involved in turning the city below into enough well spaced rubble that you achieve the goal required to move onto the next level. I was quite surprised to note on the developer’s blog that they were randomly generated – and think that there is a little more to it than that.
Some buildings are tall and thin. Some are small and fat. On some levels you have radio masts, or water towers. Some levels have islands so you can blast chunks of building into the water to get rid of them. Later levels have more densely packed buildings, and it is possible to blow all the buildings over with one bomb, and then stand them back up again with a next blast! Which is extremely frustrating!
All the time hapless zombies are running around, in confusion, as you obliterate their hiding places. If you get lucky you can send one of them flying off the screen at a million miles an hour, or even up in the sky higher than your plane goes! Which is strangely satisfying. But actually serves no real purpose! It’s even funnier then they fall back down past everything a few seconds later! Nice touch there.
Another nice touch, that adds tension, is that at the end of each level, as the blast from your last bomb dies down, and the last pieces of rubble settle, the game is already starting its check to see if you have raised the city low enough. You can sometimes either complete or fail a level based on whether a chunk of twisted metal or concrete settles into a nook or cranny in the carnage on screen just in time! *sigh*
As you progress from level to level there are subtle changes to the backgrounds of each environment also. Some levels have clouds and abstract backgrounds. Some cities are a doddle to obliterate. And others can take quite a lot of planning; requiring you to blow the tops off tall skyscrapers with air blasts to thin the level out, and then pummelling the ground with your last couple of bombs to mop up, for example.
I literally had to tear myself away from this game to come write this review. And whilst Obliteration doesn’t have the depth of a full blown desktop computer game, it is only $1.99 after all. And for that price it’s a great fun little time-waster (and stress reliever) for your desktop machine. I also expect it is an awesome little app for any iOS device you might own. I hope there will be an Obliteration II with some further development of this idea. But until then Obliteration will do just fine!
- Simple, but fun gamely.
- You can launch zombies into orbit!
- Tasteful take on the hand-drawn look and feel.
- Very addictive!
- Would like to see a little more diversity in an update.
$1.99 (View in Mac App Store)
Updated: Mar 03, 2011
Current Version: 1.7
Size: 17.1 MB
Seller: Jonathan Mulcahy
© 2011 Jonathan Mulcahy
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or later