There's a section in Los Angeles called Koreatown, and it's an area where pork bellies are barbecued all across its sprawling, carnivorous boulevards. Kamikaze Pigs doesn't dangle these porkers over some fire cooked grill, but the intent is still the same. Whether it's a war game or a fancy restaurant, pigs are definitely on the menu. But is this piece of gaming bacon tasty enough to order?
Kamikaze Pigs has the easiest learning curve of all the apps I've ever played. As these animals fly in the sky, tap the screen and watch them crash dive into your troops. If your men, as well as your own artillery prowess, snuff out enough of bad boys to earn you at least one star, you'll have completed the level. Although there are 40 total missions, each stage literally takes seconds to finish once you touch your device. From an entirely superficial level, all it takes is a tap and you can watch a bunch of planes hopefully go boom. Just make sure the roast meter on the lower right hand side is completely filled up before you do the deed.
Once you collect more stars and rack up points, a ton of upgrades for your army are available for purchase. Although the title has the requisite in-game purchases, it's not entirely needed to fully enjoy the game, which is a total plus. The true pleasure of the title isn't in the act of setting off a bomb, but to actually survey your aerial battlefield and watch how these various units interact with each other.
For example, during the first boss level, if you don't properly use your roaster to have the right amount planes slam into Papa Oink, you're screwed. By not putting a timer on the levels, the developers enable you to actually sit back and figure out a proper pattern to cause as much destruction as possible. The actual action takes moments to happen, but if you want to spend a full minute checking things out to plan your strategy, have at it.
Since I'm a total achievement junkie, I was more than happy to see 36 challenges to accomplish. There is also a bit of thought and humor put into each achievement, as well as a separate menu in the game to track your progress with each goal. Basically, you don't have to switch over to your Game Center screen to see your actual scores and enjoy all the pretty icons. Since I love a splash of color and a big show with my morning Joe, huge achievement pop-ups also have me at hello.
It's also a pure thrill to see the developers pay attention to each level, making sure each stage has a distinct feel from the previous battle. One of my favorite stages has the piggies flying around in a half ferris wheel formation during the dead of night. Looking completely smacked together amidst a dark blue tinged background, it's a visually surreal moment I didn't expect from a seemingly cutesy title. Maybe I'm just projecting, but this game has more to offer than introducing a few piggies to the Grim Reaper.
Kamikaze Pigs may come off as a total joke from the onset, but if you get past the relatively easy game play mechanic, this title has a surprising amount of nuance. This isn't just a blow them up, score as many points adventure, but if you want to keep it on that playing field that's completely fine.
Kamikaze Pigs is currently housed somewhere in my bleak, soulless subconscious. I just go back to those nighttime blues of a bloody evening, as I watched those piggies fly for the last time. Bacon has never tasted better.