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iOS Review: Pencil Whipped- Escape From Big Ass Castle
“Go forth dumb one. Rescue your friends and show those bastards who’s boss.”
One of my colleagues emailed me a link saying that this game had been recently released on IOS and asked if I was interested in reviewing it. Being quite the avid mobile gamer I went onto the app store and parted my my 69p ($0.99) and downloaded this oddly titled game. Now I’m aware of the previous Pencil Whipped game and actually enjoyed the ridiculously basic.. Everything, from controls to graphics, so I was hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately I didn’t exactly get what I was hoping for.
You’re Dooby Dummy, the most idiotic person in the world and a group of bad guys have kidnapped 20 of your friends and locked them away in random places of a castle. You’re given a bag of bombs to defend yourself with and a lighter to light your way in the dark corridors of the castle. You’re also warned about the ghost of Mugga Fugga who will attack you if you touch any of the castle walls. You have 10 lives and 100 hit points in each life, Bombs and fire are instant kills, everything else seems to do -10 hit points per attack. The controls are your classic d-pad up,down,left,right, all in all pretty straightforward, so with all that clarified is this game any good?
The graphics of this game are classic Pencil Whipped, everything is sketched out and has a novel effect. Fire and blood are simply comical and the touch of Dooby Dummy constantly flipping the bird is funny too. The graphics of the game prove to be one of the more redeeming features of the game and offer a nice downgrade from the ultra realistic nature of modern games which I personally found quite refreshing.
Simple controls and a basic dungeon-searching plot makes for a good foundation for this game to actually work. Unfortunately it just doesn’t. After multiple hours of playing this game through I only ever seem to reach the second level where I’m instantly mauled by hundreds of monsters right where I respawn, the music is annoying and repetitive, the human-made effects are also hugely irritating.
Touching the walls is an inevitability and results in Mugga Fugga pouncing on you and mauling all your health, the bombs prove useless in situations with more than one enemy and you nearly always end up cremating yourself too. Then there’s getting lost, the black and white decor all looks the same meaning i spent many an hour just wandering to try and find the stairs to the next level which was simply infuriating. I rarely even reached the stairs due to Mugga Fugga living up to his namesake.
My most major issue with the gameplay however is the apparent bug with the game. Upon dying (A common occurrence) I found Dooby Dummy would just explode and obviously die again, I’d wait to respawn only for a bomb to respawn with me and blow me up again. This would continue until all my lives had gone and the game was over and I’d have to start again, this happened nearly every time I played and even after I reinstalled the app.
In light of all the apparent issues with this game, I developed a vendetta with Mugga Fugga and cleared the games 2 levels and escaped the castle. I was met with that unbeatable feeling of satisfaction and wanted to hurl abuse at Mugga Fugga, I was also disappointed at just how short this game is. My winning play through took me 6 minutes in total. Granted you can try and escape again using less lighter fluid and losing less lives etc but to what end? I finished this game and felt that was it, I felt as if my battle with Mugga Fugga and his chronies was finished, for a paid app this isn’t a good thing at all and presented another dissappointment with this game.
The bug, which may have been exclusive to my gameplay, pretty much ruined my experience and rendered the game largely unplayable. The dungeon searching gameplay has been done so many times before and this game doesn’t seem to add anything to the genre and does more to infuriate rather than excite the gamer. However with a fix for that tragic bug, some new weapons other than those pitiful bombs and a navigation system such as a mini map to help you know where the hell you are, this game could work a lot better. Make sure you read the instructions upon start up otherwise you’ll be seeing the Game Over screen a lot.
Pencil Whipped: Escape From Big Ass Castle Version 1.1 for IOS out since 23rd November 2012 on the App Store. Reviewed after 5 hours of gameplay on an Iphone 4 ( Would have been more if the bug wasn’t so detrimental to gameplay) All images are screenshots from my own gameplay.