Bug Zapper and Hop Til You Drop

Update: Hop Til You Drop received a Second Chance with the Chick.  It is now Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick LeaderboardClick here for my continued thoughts on it.

Here are two games that seem like good ideas, but the execution is just a bit off, resulting in the losing streak the Leaderboard has been on continuing.  First off is Bug Zapper, which comes from the developer of previous Leaderboard title Zomp 3 (#84 as of this writing).  This time, instead of a Lolo-esq puzzler, Chris Skelly went for the good-old-boy pasttime of bug zapping, with the idea being you’re the one insect who is immune to the hypnotic glow of electric death device.  Thus, you have to prevent your fellow pests from going towards the light.  This is hilariously done by beating them to a bloody pulp.  As far as solutions to potential problems go, that’s pretty fucking awesome.  It would be like helping a coke head stay sober by breaking his nose.

Bug Zapper gives you a lot to keep up with, and in its present form, it really is too much.

Bug Zapper gives you a lot to keep up with, and in its present form, it really is too much.

As far as game concepts go, it’s actually pretty good.  Bug Zapper also features upgradable stats and a wide variety of bugs to smack down.  So what’s the problem?  Well, I had two major problems.  The first was I couldn’t get the hang of the throw controls.  Bug Zapper heavily relies on throwing bugs into each other in order to rack up combos that build your special moves meter, but even with lots of practice, I had just as good a chance of throwing a rescued bug into the zapper as I did into another bug.  This is because the swarms of bugs heading for the zapper is utterly relentless and you have to keep moving nonstop to have a chance to prevent them from dying.  More control over what directions the bug could be thrown would help, because throwing at angles was imprecise.

A more troubling problem is the fact that the player can completely ruin the ability to throw bugs by picking the wrong upgrades.  You can upgrade the strength of your punching and of your throwing.  In order to throw a bug, you must weaken their health past a certain point, depending on how many times you’ve upgraded your throw.  However, it is possible for you to have a punch so powerful that bugs are knocked out before being weak enough to throw.  Since many of the stages later in the game rely on this ability, the result is you have to grind upgrade points to strengthen your throw.  It really saps the fun out of it, because grinding doesn’t really fit well with this style of game.  There’s a few other smaller issues dealing with the difficulty levels (consider “Medium” to be hard and “Easy” to be medium) and collision detection (it’s too easy to accidentally get zapped by the zapper), but there’s a real game here.  It just needs a tiny amount of work to fix the pacing issues.

Screen from Hop Til You Drop.  Not a fan of the background changing colors here either, but I didn't play the game long enough to grow what was certain to be a hatred for it.

Screen from Hop Til You Drop. Not a fan of the background changing colors here either, but I didn’t play the game long enough to grow what was certain to be a hatred for it.

Speaking of pacing problems, I didn’t get very far into Hop Til You Drop at all.  Why?  Well, the concept is decent enough, I guess.  You’re a dude who has to hop around a room collecting coins.  The hook is, when you hop, the gravity switches and you end up walking on the ceiling, then back on the floor, etc, etc.  Meanwhile, the game randomly spawns a huge number of traps that try to kill you.  Just get as many coins as you can before dying.  Simple enough.  Hey, I’m into games based on high scores, even if they tend to suffer without online leaderboards, which I don’t believe Hop Til You Drop has.  No, here’s my problem: rounds in Hop Til You Drop can be very, very short.  That’s fine, if it’s done right.  However, once you die, you have to first view a screen that gives you your stats for this last game.  Then you have to go to main menu.  Then you have to select your character again.  There is no quick-load to start playing again, so you’ll spend as much or more time in menus then you will playing the game.  Fuck.  That.  Jesus Farting Christ, hasn’t the developer ever played a fucking good punisher before?  In the good ones, you die and BAM you’re playing again.  There is no break.  That’s how they become addictive, because they cater to that “just one more try” mentality.  Hop Til You Drop openly fights it, and that’s why it sucks.  The game itself is probably good enough to make the board, but I would rather give myself a swirly then play it again in its present state.

xboxboxart1xboxboxartBug Zapper was developed by Chris Skelly

Hop Til You Drop was developed by Chris Outen

80 Microsoft Points said guys named Chris must have problems getting proper playtesters in the making of this review.  It’s because guys named Chris are too sweet for their own good.  Think about it.  Do you know a Chris in your life?  I bet you can walk all over him. 

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

3 Responses to Bug Zapper and Hop Til You Drop

  1. AxelMill98 says:

    That’s a pity, really, because both these games have great potential. I hope to see a good game soon. Maybe that Tales of Descent… Let’s wait.

  2. Thanks for reviewing Bug Zapper! I can accept these criticisms, with a bit of surprise you had issues with throwing. I didn’t think it was imprecise. Although I should’ve made it more obvious you can “hold on” to bugs and throw for combos early on.

    I could definitely tone down the number of bugs to ease the difficulty, and allow selling of your upgrades, to get you out of “grinding” through levels for points. Once you can afford more power-ups, the swarms are easier to deal with. These issues could be easily patched. I’m considering that option very soon.

    Thanks again for the honesty and laughs in your reviews. Go big or buzz home!

  3. Pingback: Indie Links Round-Up: A Certain Shade | The Indie Game Magazine - Indie Game Reviews, Previews, News & Downloads

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