Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P.: Looks Like The Cows Have Come Home To Roost.

Pinky McLadybits

Stay with me here. I know we haven't reviewed games before, (apps, yes, but not really games) but here I am. I was approached by the producer of The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P., available today on iTunes and next week on Google Play, to review an advanced copy. As I've known this producer since kindergarten, I said YES. Also, I love playing games. WIN WIN! Bonus: If the game sucked I could kick rocks at him like I did in elementary school. I just couldn't lose. So! Officially, we were given this game for free to review. This is my true opinion of the game and a review would not have been done if I thought it sucked. So now you know.

The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P. boasts the writing talents of the original film and series writer and producer Bob LoCash. He has done a great job of keeping the spirit of the Leslie Nielsen franchise alive in this game. As you can see from the promotional photo, that isn't Frank Drebin. Well, it is Frank Drebin, Jr. Yes, Frank had a son! I wonder if Jane Spencer is the mother...

Anyway, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and Frank Jr. has taken up his father's mantle in law enforcement. When we first meet Frank Jr., he is driving around in his squad car, talking about justice. He loses some papers and we are then called to an important shoot-out at the police station (practice level). You learn how to reload your weapon for some of the minigames here. Upon waking from a satisfying bloodbath dream, Frank Jr. shows us his apartment (practice and useful information time!) and promptly loses his keys. You have to find them and get to the main case of the missing Councilman. This is where you find out about collecting Bucks from objects, how to interact with your environment, how to use your notebook full of information, and you learn that you can purchase furnishings and unlockable outfits. Unlockable outfits, sadly, do not give you super powers.

This will keep you safe for sex though.
In the screenshot you can see that there is an icon shaped like a police light and one shaped like a notebook. You can choose which cases are active by clicking the light icon. You can review notes that you pick up, dossiers you have of the people you interact with, check your clues, check on the cases that you have and more with the notebook icon. The notebook looks like this when open:

So charming. Yes.
Back to the cases. These range from meetings with a shady politician to finding rubber chickens and collecting donuts. At least, that's what they consist of so far. I can only imagine the goofy cases waiting to be solved. How do you solve them? You travel via your Pious car through the map screen. You look for clues. You tap items to see if they can be manipulated or examined or freed of their Bucks. You talk to people and you keep your eyes open. Or you pay Weaselly Joe for the information. Then you might be rewarded with a cut scene that would have been at home in one of the original movies.

This game isn't like most of those I play on my iPad or i Pod touch. Most of them are somewhat simple and just a time-waster. They can be beaten multiple times or, if you are lucky, they are updated with new levels. The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P. is more like a platform game. You need to take your time, look around and find the things pertinent to your investigation. You have to interact with objects, refer to your notepad and the information within it. You aren't just winging birds at pigs, though I love doing that. In other words, if you get interrupted while playing, it isn't just a pause and walk away really. You might be in the middle of something, like talking someone out of jumping from a building. You could just walk off, but you might be reluctant.

Some people may find the initial load time to be a pain in the ass. We are used to instant gratification. However, the rest of the load screens are much shorter, so be calm. In a couple of the minigames I had to complete to continue on, I had a bit of confusion at first as to how I made them work. I was able to figure it out through tapping and sliding my stylus, but I was annoyed at first. Again, ME WANT NOW GARGH came into play. Some people might be annoyed about walking back to their car when they have to go to a new location. I got frustrated when unsure how to proceed in a case. Whether these are dealbreakers or not is up to the individual.

The voice acting is quite nice, especially since most games just have characters that don't actually speak out loud. You can skip through the cut scene lines by tapping the screen, but you'll probably want to listen to the outstanding voices. The character designs are nice, though I'm no expert, but I liked them well enough. The different locations are pleasingly dingy and gross. They may be the same base background, but you don't think about it immediately like you might with other games. They are different enough to be new when you see each location.

Since I'm new to reviewing games - though I love to play them - I'll tell you that I used a first generation iPad to play. The graphics were quite nice on my screen and I didn't have any problems, apart from being kicked out of the game several times. Purchasing hints costs in-game money and not real money, which is a nice change of pace.

I had a couple problems tapping items I wanted to tap, but I can't be sure if that problem lay with the game or the iPad. For $4.99, The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P. is an entertaining, smart, and fun game to snatch up. You won't beat all of the different cases in an hour, which is what helps make it worth your money. (I'm already planning to start over so I can do a better job with the main case and earn some achievements.) The nods to other games and little jokes are worth it as well. You can buy it today on iTunes. Android devices can play next week.

Rating: 6/8 tentacles

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