By Eric Pankoke on Thu, 03/24/2011
I know there are a lot of people that believe Trinity Games is basically in the business of making cheap knock-offs of other developers’ games. The truth is that their games do tend to be derivative of other games on the App Store, and often aren’t nearly as good. You can rest assured, however, that such is not the case with Crazy John, which is why I’m bothering to review it in the first place. Some will argue that it is merely a Minigore clone, or possibly even a rip off of Age Of Zombies. The reality is, however, that the game offers more features than the first couple of iterations of Minigore (I honestly haven’t played it lately), and I find it more enjoyable than Age Of Zombies. If you’ve not been convinced in the past that Trinity Games could take a concept and make it their own, Crazy John might just be the product to persuade you.
Given my comparisons, you can imagine that the premise behind the game is quite simple. The world has been overrun by zombies, and you and your weapons supplier Bob have to do whatever it takes to set things straight – or at the very least, survive. Thankfully, the only real skill this requires is the ability to blow up just about anything in sight.
You can use the direct approach and just flat out shoot the creatures, or if you’re lucky sometimes you can get a few of them at once by blowing up a canister of explosives. There are also ice canisters that will temporarily freeze the creatures, but you still have to kill them before they thaw. The main threat in the game is zombies, and there are plenty of them to kill. You’ll also run into slug like creatures that produce little larva offspring, and a winged bug like creature that makes annoying little red insects come out of the ground. There isn’t a lot of variety in the villains, but the bosses do add a nice touch.
There are power ups that you can pick up along the way to help in your quest as well, and they’ll do anything from replenish your health to set off a small bomb that kills everything within a certain radius. There’s even a mech that Bob will send your way occasionally, which is especially good against the boss monsters. The other thing you need to be cognizant of are the other survivors, who honestly look pale enough to be ghosts. You can run into them to save them, but you must be careful. While the creatures can’t get them, they are quite susceptible to your bullets and any explosions you might cause. While you thankfully don’t get punished for killing them, you do get rewarded for saving them, which will be continually more important as the game progresses and upgrades get more expensive.
The upgrade system, while not overly complex, is quite nice. There are several different kinds of guns to choose from assuming you have the money, and unlike most games of this style, you get to keep the gun once you’ve gotten your hands on it. There are also six stats that you can level up, including thing like maximum health, amount of money you get, and the duration that power ups last. Crazy John is integrated with Game Center, but there are only 10 achievements to earn. These aren’t your simple “thanks for passing level 1” achievements, however. One of them, for example, is to max out all your stats. These achievements will definitely take you a while to earn.
The visuals in Crazy John are actually pretty sharp. The characters have that blocky Minigore style about them, though they seem a bit more pixilated, giving the look an 8-bit quality. The animation’s not bad, and I especially like it when one of the slugs is killed and splits up into a bunch of little larva. The background has a similar 8-bit feel, and it’s well drawn, but I do wish that every few levels they’d switch to something different. Even though the configuration of the tiles is shuffled with every level, it gets kind of tiring staring at a graveyard after a while.
The sound effects aren’t bad, but some of the noises the creatures make are rather odd. There’s also a lot of maniacal laughter, and given that these are basically shambling undead creatures, I’m not sure where that’s coming from. The music is pretty decent. It reminds me of the background tunes you’d hear during the “rally the troops” sequence of your average B grade war movie, which is perfectly fitting for the overall atmosphere of the game.
If you’re a dual stick shooter fan, I don’t really see why you wouldn’t like this game. The weapon and stat upgrade system is nice, the mini-missions – while basically inane – help break up the levels, and the fact that you stop and shop between levels means while things might get slightly repetitive, they don’t truly get boring. The graphics are nice and the sound and music do a good job of creating a B movie atmosphere. All in all, Crazy John is a solid, fun addition to my growing collection of dual stick shooters.
Overall Score: 8/10
App Store Link