Release Date:March 4, 2010
Summary:You fluff your feathers. You peck dolefully at the ground. You represent disease, pestilence, and annoyance all in one dull-eyed, dull-feathered package. That's right - you're a pigeon, and you're here to rain a hellfire of sh** on those guys who didn't give you crumbs. Man, those crumbs are tasty.
As indicated by the title’s pun, Fowlplay by Happynin Games is a game of foulplay conducted, no less, by a mischievous bird of a feather. Actually, if I wanted to nitpick, the word fowl is more typically used for chickens, or other domesticated birds kept chiefly for the purposes of their eggs or flesh, and not usually birds of the wild, pigeon variety (though, it could be argued that the pigeons of NYC are as domestic as you can get). But, for the purposes of the pun, Fowlplay is enough to spur a quick smirk on my part, and incite enough curiosity to download the app.
The opening page illustrations are at odds with the graphical aesthetics of the game, itself. The opening page has a bizarre anime sketch quality to it, or less praiseworthy, a tipped hat in ode to the illustrator of Ed, Edd, and Eddy. Regardless, the game is much nicer to look at: your pigeon is nicely designed against a 3-d playing field of grassy knolls, jutting trees, and the strange, block-headed citizens of this strange, green world, that seem to spend their entire day strolling about the golf course-like forest. The characters are of seemingly three kinds – one with red hair, one with short black hair, and one with long black hair, this last one boasting the largest cranium of the three – and each goes about his business, unaware of the peril that beckons above. Little do these funny, block-headed people know that a lone pigeon is flying overhead, with the precision of an eagle and the depraved eye of a vulture, scouring the landscape for victims in his next illegal tagging. Oh, that’s right, you know what I’m talking about. Poop.
So, not only is this foulplay conducted by fowl, the foulplay is just plain foul. Your mission as depraved, mischievous pigeon, is to poop on as many heads as possible – preferably in the inordinant spree of combos. Tilt your iPhone to each side to steer your pigeon toward the next, unsuspecting head, keeping in mind your pigeon’s shadow as an aiming marker, and then tap the screen, squirting out a nice dollop of white to land with a nice, spreading plop on your victim’s head. Like anyone hit with the forceful blow of poo, the people hit take a step back, their head taking a dramatic whiplash, their eyes squeezed shut in horror. I remember the one time I was the shocked and awed, the collateral damage of a seagull dumping spree, when I was 15 years old in High School. That blue sweater was never the same.
As you go along in the game, a few bonus items turn up to assist you in your poo brigade. Glowing football helmets let you topple over trees rather than fly through them and damage yourself, to your eventual death (Death by Branches). Another item tinges your poo with fire, letting you send flaming missiles of turd – to add insult to injury, of course. Also, the farther along in the game you get, the faster your pigeon decides to fly. Pooing at one speed gets pretty dull for your pigeon, so he has to up the ante to make things exciting again. Seems this fowl is all about the adrenaline rush.
The one major beef I had about FowlPlay – other than the monotonous landscape, the monotony slew of those same, three characters – is that it’s fairly impossible to strike everyone. Okay, this is a given in any game, but the way the controls are set up, tilting left and right, at the speed your pigeon flies, if you choose to fly left toward one guy and not right toward another, there’s no turning back. You cannot poo on one and make it back to the other in time. I’ve wasted plenty of white dollops figuring out a strategy – not that there really is one. I also had a few thoughts about how the pigeon should have upgrades, maybe, like after a certain amount of levels you can swindle your vulture friend, your duck and goose friend, to come along and join the force. You could have a collective fowl, a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese, just the whole nine yards with birds. There’s no reason the developers should limit themselves to the pigeon – or to just flaming turds.
In the end, though, this game really just has one goal: to have fun. Honestly, did you expect anything else from a game about birdsh**?
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