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Pocket God

Developer: 

Bolt Creative

Release Date: 

July 24, 2009

Version: 

1.21

Price: 

$0.99

Editor Rating 

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Remember Black & White? Okay, maybe you don’t, but I sure do. It was this amazing game released in 2001 that introduced stunning AI within a god game complex, where your unseen God-like character ruled the land and was worshipped by people you chose to either amaze or terrorize.

img_00175Pocket God by Bolt Creative, too, is a god game, only it focuses instead on the amusing terrorizing and torture of your little pygmy natives. The game takes place on the Island of Oog, where pygmies take on names similar to the island’s alliteration, of Ooga, Booga, Noogy, Dooby, Klik and Klak, and they wander around from side to side of their tiny island, unawares of what travesty will happen to them next. On the character stats page you can read the amusing one-line descriptions of each character – Booga is gross and smells horrible – as well as their current mood and sacrifices – my Booga has currently been sacrificed by a lightning strike and from being eaten by a T-rex. Being their god, it is within your means to guide them or torture them, though the game isn’t really in-depth enough to focus on character development; it really is just a fun game of poking and abuse and terrorizing. Thankfully, while playing the game, the iPhone screen doesn’t darken and go to sleep but faithfully watches your Pygmies in action.

img_0029The game begins with a few pygmies walking back and forth on the island. Sometimes they scratch their nose, sometimes they explode from their bladder bursting while waiting impatiently for the outhouse, and sometimes they eagerly eat an entire fish in one gulp should another pygmy be fishing. Usually, though, they stand around with their big, bulbous eyes and flintstone getup, vacantly blinking and taking three steps in one direction, then three steps back. It’s surprising how often their bladders burst – I’ve lost countless pygmies to the tinkles – so make sure you tap on the outhouse door to remind the indisposed Pygmy that others are waiting in imminent danger.

The pygmies have it rough even without your hand of god picking them and tossing them around, aiming for the volcano to spew them out in a fiery mess. I left all five of them alone for 3 minutes and all of them died from either burst bladders, an unfortunate shark attack while fishing, a random earthquake, or from falling off the screen if my phone tilted and changed the course of gravity. It’s nearly impossible to keep all five alive without constant vigilance.

img_00163At the start of the game you’ll notice a plus and arrow sign at the top. The plus sign populates your island with more pygmies, but the maximum population is 5, ending with the arrival of Klak. The arrow sign toggles the menu tab, where you may access different features, like changing the island from the volcano one to the dinosaur one, or sorting through different adventures for your pygmies. Some of the various actions include summoning a meteor, an ant hill, stormy weather, island dancing, a fishing pole, and a shark. Each of these provides a new adventure for your pygmies – or, more accurately, a new way to screw with your minions. If left to their own devices, your defenseless pygmies will run in a frenzied pack of fear, always taking the flight of the fight-or-flight response, and they will eventually die. If you choose to assist them, such as giving them a spear to fend off a T-rex, then the Pygmies will attack with virility, knowing their God is covering their back.

img_00164In this game, your actions truly are the finger of god. You can launch your pygmies in the air by touching them and flinging them about – I like to dangle them above a shark and have the shark launch out of the water and gulp them whole; you can summon a meteor and then use it to crush your pygmies; you can summon a magnifying glass and burn your pygmies to a flaming, evaporating crisp, or even burn the ants from the nearby ant hill; and you can summon a T-rex to gobble up your teeny tiny dumb Pygmies one by one.

Your finger of god doesn’t just directly handle the Pygmies. You are a God, after all, and what do gods do best? They manipulate the earth! You can drag the sun downward to make it nighttime, even dusk, or return to daytime by doing the same with the Moon. Should you tire of sunny skies, then tap the lightning cloud toggle and then zap your Pygmies with lightning until they disappear in a poof of vaporized carbon, or just fling your finger across the sky for the weather to abruptly change. Shake the iPhone up and down to create an earthquake, chattering the Pygmies teeth, or turn your iPhone upside down to reverse gravity, and fling them far offscreen to their demise. A hurricane is easily created with your powerful finger, by swirling the sky until a violent vortex appears, carrying your screaming Pygmies into oblivion. Or you can toss the water to form a tidal wave, which will throw the entire island under water. Each of these, of course, should be performed with a booming BWAHAHAHA from you.

img_00087Not everything, of course, revolves around disaster for your Pygmy tribesmen. They will happily pull fish after fish from the water if you give them a pole, and they will eat coconuts with gusto should you knock them from a tree. They will dance separately, and in unison, with fireworks if you tap your finger to a rhythm; but don’t have them dance for too long, or, as is their nature, they will explode.

Whether you choose to nurture your Pygmies or torture them – and granted there are far more ways to torture them you will most likely relish the evil side – Pocket God is endlessly amusing and is an easy way to completely lose track of time. It may not be as in-depth as PC games like Black & White, but having a game with no objectives or goals is often more entertaining on the go than one that requires you to advance onto newer levels. So next time you just want to hit something, why not just unleash a fury of fire ants on Booga? He’s smelly and gross anyway.
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1 Comment

  1. I remember buying Black & White and then learning that the specs on my PC were not good enough to support the game. I downloaded Pocket God this morning after reading the review. I think the part I enjoyed the most was tapping the moon to create a vampire bat. Once an islander is bitten by the vampire bat, it in turn becomes a vampire and starts killing the other islanders.

    Making an islander sweat under the giant lens was also fun, though at first I thought it was a hula-hoop that they would don and start dancing. Here is an idea for Bolt Creative, introduce hula hoops to make a single islander dance.

    However without any set objectives or points, I don’t see myself playing the game often and hence my 4 star user rating.

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