In Minigore, you play a gruff, Legoman-looking character named John Gore, who is inexplicably wandering the forest alone in the middle of the night. An endless horde of baddies also happens to be in the area, and they begin a ruthless, blood-thirsty assault on our poor hero. Luckily, John has a gun equipped with unlimited ammo, and he can shape-shift into an invincible monster. Does any of this make sense? Not in the least. Do we mind? Heck no, because this game delivers action and style in spades.
In the grand tradition of Smash TV and iDracula, you run around a limited playing field and blast the enemies coming at you from all directions. The goal is to rack up as many points as possible before your inevitable death. Two analog sticks sit in the bottom corners of the screen: the left one controls movement, the right one directs your bullets.
Your enemies are the unfortunately-named furries. They come in four flavors: Minifurry, Furry, Giant Furry, and Firefurry. Minis die with one shot. Furries take several bullets and spawn a mini every time they’re hit. Giants can take a heap of damage before they turn to three regular Furries. And Firefurries are just speedier Minifurries on fire. You’ll want to take out firefurries first, because unlike the rest of the beasts, they can outrun you.
The creepy forest environment looks stunning. Three-dimensional trees, rocks, and bushes populate the landscape and provide cover for your attackers. Splashes of light and pools of shadow add not only to the atmosphere, but also to the gameplay. We found it safest to stay in well-lit, vegetation-sparse areas.
When you take your first hit of damage, you start to look cut-up and haggard. You also receive a temporary speed boost, which is a good thing, because it allows you to escape the danger area and dispatch the horde. One more hit and you’re a goner. That’s right, you can only take two hits, so caution is key.
Occasionally a furry will drop a crate containing a shotgun. You can pick it up for several rounds of powerful three-bullet blasts, or you can unload on the crate to make it explode, sending shrapnel in all directions.
Aside from the shotgun crates, the only other items dropped by the furries are clovers. Collect three, and you turn into an invincible monster, capable of destroying all baddies in your path. This turning of tables adds a fun dimension to the game, but you’ll want to watch your dwindling clover icons, because when you turn back to normal you’ll want to be far away from your foes.
Your iTunes library is available in-game, but at first you’ll want to stick with the awesome, cinematic score. It matches the tone of the game perfectly, with a quirky, dark mood that wouldn’t be out of place in the Danny Elfman songbook.
The included leaderboards are a welcome feature for a high-score game like this. They’re provided by OpenFeint, a social networking platform where you can track your scores, keep a friends list, and participate in insipid chat room discussions with strangers.
Our only real complaint about Minigore is its limited scope. You only get one map, two weapons, and four similar types of enemies. We want more of everything. We would also love to see health power-ups and a multiplayer mode.
Developer Mountain Sheep promises additional content in future updates, including a co-op mode, radar, additional maps, and, mind-bendingly, Enviro-Bear as a playable character.
It speaks to the game’s quality that the worst thing we have to say about Minigore is that we want more. As is, this is a stylishly fun diversion, definitely worth your buck. If the updates come through as advertised, the game may leap to “must-have” status. As always, we’ll keep you posted.
We finally got around to checking out Episode 2 of Minigore, and it’s a much more subtle update than we had hoped. You can now be hit one more time before falling victim to the ferocious Furries, and a tougher difficulty mode and a save feature have been added.
There’s also a new “radar” option that puts tiny icons at the border of the screen that point to enemies outside of your view. This game has a lot of enemies, so that means a lot of icons if you want to use this feature.
There’s still no co-op play, or new playable characters, both of which are supposedly still in development for episodes 3 and 4. We never thought we’d say this, but bring on Enviro-Bear!
We’re glad to see that the just-released MiniGore update gives players more in-game content than the last one did, and also throws a few new gameplay elements into the mix.
The five new unlockable characters are Jerry Gore, Evan Hsu, Enviro Bear, Xmas Gore (John in a Santa costume), and Sensei Evan. To unlock them, you must spend your kills. Jerry Gore costs 100 kills, Enviro Bear costs 32,000, and Sensei Evan costs a cool million. In short, if you want to unlock everything, you’ll be playing until your thumbs bleed.
The shotgun now shoots more bullets the longer you’ve been alive in a game session. A powerful grenade launcher will now appear instead of the shotgun on occasion, and it also packs more firepower the longer you survive.
Also added is a day and night cycle that happens every few minutes. Things become harder to see at night, but a torch appears in John’s hand, lighting up nearby enemies. At the peak of night, every enemy is set on fire and moves faster as a result. This doesn’t last long, but we enjoyed the extra challenge.
A new Wolfworm boss now appears occasionally, and he gets bigger each time you fight him. Since all the furries disappear when he shows up, he’s pretty easy to take down.
They’ve also added some in-app purchases. You can pay $0.99 apiece to play as Kid Gore or Santa himself. Buying either of these unlocks an option to play in a snow version of the regular level. The snow version is also unlocked if you use 100,000 kills to purchase Xmas Gore.
The package is a little more robust now, but the additions probably won’t convert anyone who wasn’t interested in the game before. If nothing else, it’ll bring people who already own it but haven’t touched it in a while back into the fold for a few play sessions.
Also new to the game is the ability to dual-wield weapons if you can snag both gun crates when they show up in pairs. This gives you some additional welcome firepower, and is worth checking out if you already own the game.
We’re glad to see Minigore continue to receive this kind of incremental attention and hope the developers keep it up.