Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion Review
Sure, the Orcs Must Die series was fun and addictive, but it is about time that the orc race finally got their chance to dish out some payback to the human race. Casual Brothers Games has released their debut title, Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion, for orc activists everywhere. It brings about the return of fart jokes in gaming as Orc Attack draws direct inspiration from the likes of Boogerman, Castle Crashers, Dynasty Warriors and Chaos (the farting gorilla from Primal Rage). Does Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion contain the gastrointestinal fortitude to ward off the evil humans? Or is this orc title just filled with a foul stench?
In a sense, Flatulent Rebellion contains both the gastrointestinal fortitude and foul stench previously mentioned. You must hack, slash, burp and fart your way through thousands of humans in order to liberate the orc homeland. In Orc Attack, you must play as one of four orcs (with four other hidden orcs you unlock along the way), and take back the orcish territories from the humans who have caused the orcs' drinking water supply to become horrifically polluted. While the humans' pollution may have killed off a lot of orcs, it led to the surviving orcs to gain radioactive qualities. As a result, Sir Sniff, Doc Turd, Lord Poop and Friar Krap are able to unleash deadly attacks when expelling gas from their bodies. Toss in seamless, four-player online gameplay, and you can fart it up with your friends. Is Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion worth its $9.99 pricetag?
Unfortunately, Orc Attack's core gameplay follows the cookie cutter format that has been plaguing the third person action genre. Your orcs' primary moves consist of the expected light and heavy attacks, with heavy attacks being necessary for breaking through shielded opponents. As you progress through Orc Attack, you will unlock a few combos which can be done by inputting specific light/heavy button sequences. You also have the ability to jump and roll in order to avoid enemy attacks. Also, special attacks exist in the form of foul gases expelled from the mouths and backsides of our green heroes.
For some reason, Orc Attack gives you the option to play either "dirty" or "magic" mode. In dirty mode, your character's farts act as a gas bomb that hits all of your surrounding enemies, and burps hit enemies in front of you with a cone-shaped area of effect. Like Castle Crashers, the characters play almost the same, with the only major difference in what their gas attacks do to the enemy (the red orc's special attacks burn, the green orc poisons, blue freezes, etc.). Choosing magic mode changes the farts and burps to magic spells, which do exactly the same things (a circular gas bomb or a frontal projectile), with a slight change in the look and sound effect of each attack. Casual Brothers' inclusion of magic mode struck us as an anomaly. Why would they swap out the farts and burps but still include the blood in magic mode? Magic mode is actually not a children's version of Orc Attack to play. Instead, it is meant for players wanting a more serious experience, but why take the farts out of a Flatulent Rebellion?
A major complaint is that the four starter orcs all play exactly the same way. In the campaign's introduction, each orc is depicted with a different weapon, but they all start off dual wielding the same pair of clubs. The only differences between them are their looks and their type of fart attacks. The animation for each attack and fart seem to be exactly the same, regardless of which orc you chose. While this was effective in Castle Crashers, Orc Attack does not have the tight animation, addictive gameplay or outright hilarity Castle Crashers had in order to make us overlook its shallowness.
A huge detrimental aspect to Orc Attack is its camera system. Flatulent Rebellion boasts of an innovative camera system, which is meant to be shared by all players when playing online. Our experiences with this system just made it feel that all the orcs in your group were limited in staying onscreen at all times. It would have been much easier to just have the standard right stick camera control and let each player rotate the camera however they would like. This becomes much more noticeable during the parts where you must be mindful of your surroundings, like platforming or navigating a river atop giant lily pads. We felt compelled to swivel the camera in order to help with the small platforming parts or to keep an eye on the mission objectives (e.g., protecting a blind orc and preventing him from falling into traps).
In multiplayer, the camera works a little bit better, but there's so much going on due to the increased enemy counts that we would have much rather have had free control of the camera instead of it arbitrarily focusing on what the game deemed important. All in all, Orc Attack is best enjoyed as a group while playing dirty mode. Seeing four orcs on the screen, each stomping, swinging and farting their way through hordes of humans (get it? orcs, humans, horde?), does bring about a sense of chaotic camaraderie we haven't felt since Behemoth's castle-crashing classic.
Without a doubt, Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion has some aspects to it that stink, but that does not necessarily mean that we can't waft through it. For a debut title, Casual Brothers did many things right and took inspirations from the right group of titles. Aside from its silly, quirky, frenzied battlefield, there were quite a few third person action cliches which should have been changed in order to make the gameplay of Orc Attack feel more original. Nevertheless, for ten bucks, Orc Attack offers an excellent online multiplayer experience. Once you start leveling up your orc and acquiring different weapons, the similarities between the default orcs will start to fade and you may find yourself becoming quite attached to playing Orc Attack online. Despite its shortcomings (which are expected with debut titles), Flatulent Rebellion reminds us that farts are still funny and that it is good to be green.
This review is based on a digital version of Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion for the PlayStation Network provided for review.