Review: Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion (Sony PlayStation 3)

orcattackcoverOrc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion
Publisher: Casual Brothers Games
Developer: Casual Brothers Games
Genre: Hack ‘N Slash
Release Date: 10/08/2013

If you’re looking for a pun-filled review that likes to compare the quality of this game to the raunchiness of the farts it loves so much, you’re out of luck. After my time with this game, I’ve had enough fart jokes to last five or six lifetimes. You’ll have to indulge yourself elsewhere. If you’re just looking to find out if the game is any good or not, read on. I can help you there.

Orc Attack is a part of that new breed of games that wants to show you the ways of the world from the eyes of those who would normally be seen as the villains. If you’ve played video games in the past two decades, chances are you’ve killed more than your fair share of evil orcs. However, the orcs in this game are the good guys. It’s the humans who have taken greed and ambition to evil levels. In the search for the almighty dollar, humans have polluted the forests and poisoned the rivers. A side effect of all this pollution is that the orcs have developed deadly gasses that can be expelled to devastating effect. Basically, they burp and fart in ways that actually kill people. With this new found power, a group of orcs heads out to reclaim their lands and put away the human threat once and for all.

orcattack1The plot attempts to be humorous, but that attempt is futile. The premise is thin, and there is a complete lack of characterization. While character names like Sir Sniff and Doc Turd hint at some personality, it just isn’t there. The story is told via a narrator who does a poor attempt at voices for each of the characters. Instead of cut-scenes, the story is told via a camera that pans over to different parts of a static image. It’s just uninteresting.

Visually, the game is actually not that bad for a ten dollar PSN title. The colors are vibrant and the locations change up fairly often. While character models get repetitive, that’s only to be expected when you consider the sheer number of them. Stylistically, the game uses burly characters that are over the top and quite silly. It’s a good look. Things animate well enough, though the framerate can drop when things get hectic. It can also be hard to see what’s going on at points. I’m also not a fan of the effects, which seem especially cheap.

orcattack2When you start the game, you’ll have the option to play in “dirty” mode or “magic” mode. If you go dirty, you’ll hear so many fart noises, you’ll be sure the developers just set up shop in a whoopee cushion factory. Magic mode is less offensive to be sure, but it kind of drains the personality out of the game. It’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” thing. I’ve mentioned the narrator, and his voice is bland and uninteresting. It’s like a children’s story time done by someone who doesn’t really want to be there. Beyond that, the game is a never-ending cacophony of yells and battle sounds. The game gets some points for using the Wilhelm Scream at times, but that’s about it. It’s pretty much worth it to turn off the sound and listen to some more appropriate music.

If you’ve played any action game in the past ten years, chances are you’ll know just what to do with this one. It has all of the staples. Light and heavy attacks that chain into simple combos? Check. Magic attacks? Check. Magic stones that refill your health meter? Check. Linear levels? Check. Boss fights that involve figuring out a simple pattern and then hoping you can last long enough to take down their oversized life bar? Check. It’s got it all.

With all of the burping and farting going on, you’d think the combat might be silly or interesting. It’s not. It’s extremely mundane. Any amusement you get by using the gas powers disappears shortly on, and you’ll settle in for the long grind. Levels are largely bereft of points of interest. You might have to jump onto a ledge once in a while, or shake the controller to create a minor earthquake to lower a bridge. Mostly, it’s fighting hordes and hordes of mindless enemies. You’ll spam combos and hack away almost non-stop.

So where does the farting and burping play into things? Well, they’re your magic attacks. Farting creates a plume of gas that can be ignited by fire, creating a sizable explosion. Burping unleashes your character’s special attack. Each orc has a different one. You might poison enemies, burn them, or even freeze them. Using these abilities drains your gas, and does so quickly. You can earn it back by landing hits or finding restorative items. You’re supposed to be able to light a fart with your burp, but I never got that to work. It might only work with two or more players.

orcattack3The game tries to mix things up with a few mechanics and levels. One of these is riding on floating platforms to get over water (water is deadly to orcs because they abhor hygiene). I hate these sections. You’ll usually get attacked, and any equipment you have that gets knocked off is going to be lost at the bottom of the river. Another thing I hated was the escort mission where you have to lead a blind guy back home. Now, I’ve played many escort missions in my time. Usually, it’s just a matter of protecting a defenseless person from enemies. Here, however, you have to protect this guy from himself. He’ll walk right into the river, right into an electric fence, or right in the middle of a horde of enemies. You might be thinking, “Well duh! He’s blind!”. However, the guy knows that those obstacles are there. He expressly states they are there before you even see them. He just doesn’t bother to avoid them because he’s a moron. Oh, and this guy is supposed to be the wise old sage that teaches you the ropes.

Boss fights also mix things up, but not in a good way. They tend to have two to three attacks that are easy to predict. All you have to do is time your attack and hack away. The problem is that when they do hit, they’ll usually send you flying. Any equipment you had will go flying off, and you’ll have to wait seemingly forever for your character to get back up again. Getting hit is a major pain in the butt. The sole bright side is that you can retry boss fights if you lose. Should you die before a boss fight, you’ll just get bumped back to the map.

Items and equipment play a key part in this game. Potions and other restorative items keep you in the fight, shields absorb damage until they break, hats bestow various bonuses. Big enemies will drop new hats and weapons when they die. These items can be picked up and used, but there are negatives. Weapons you can pick up are slow, cumbersome, and only last a certain number of hits. Hats can be knocked off, and you lose the benefit until you put it back on. If the hat goes somewhere you can’t go, you’ll lose the item. You have no permanent inventory for weapons and such. Only restorative items stick around. There is a shop where you can stock up, but the items are usually expensive.

Oh yeah. There’s also no camera control. Can’t believe I almost forgot that.

orcattack4The game features split-screen and online co-op. Unfortunately, I was unable to try either of these out. I have no one on hand to play split-screen with, and online was a complete dead zone. Some people have been playing it, as evidenced by the few people ahead of me on the leaderboards. Either we didn’t play at the same time, or there is something wrong with the connection. I’m not sure. Those who have played online report major framerate issues. I can’t confirm that, but it is something to consider.

Look. For a ten dollar game, this isn’t really all that terrible. It’s functional for the most part, and a lot of the issues are somewhat forgivable when you consider that this is the first game by these developers. I’m not trying to bash them at all. I’m hoping they learn from this, ditch the potty humor, and come back with something more interesting. I think there are some solid ideas here. Particularly, I think the equipment mechanic has merit. Being able to pick up equipment off the field and carry it out to the world map is neat, especially when you add the realism of having to leave your old equipment behind. It just needed some tweaking is all.

Short Attention Span Summary

Orc Attack is not a good game. The bathroom humor falls flat almost immediately, although it never lets up. The gameplay mechanics are amateurish and mundane. While there are some decent ideas here, there isn’t a good structure for them to be fully developed. As such, I can’t really recommend this game. I mean, unless you REALLY love fart noises.



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