In Minigore, you play a gruff, Legoman-looking character named John Gore, who is inexplicably wandering the forest alone in the middle of the night. An endless horde of baddies also happens to be in the area, and they begin a ruthless, blood-thirsty assault on our poor hero. Luckily, John has a gun equipped with unlimited ammo, and he can shape-shift into an invincible monster. Does any of this make sense? Not in the least. Do we mind? Heck no, because this game delivers action and style in spades.
In the grand tradition of Smash TV and iDracula, you run around a limited playing field and blast the enemies coming at you from all directions. The goal is to rack up as many points as possible before your inevitable death. Two analog sticks sit in the bottom corners of the screen: the left one controls movement, the right one directs your bullets.
Your enemies are the unfortunately-named furries. They come in four flavors: Minifurry, Furry, Giant Furry, and Firefurry. Minis die with one shot. Furries take several bullets and spawn a mini every time they’re hit. Giants can take a heap of damage before they turn to three regular Furries. And Firefurries are just speedier Minifurries on fire. You’ll want to take out firefurries first, because unlike the rest of the beasts, they can outrun you.
The creepy forest environment looks stunning. Three-dimensional trees, rocks, and bushes populate the landscape and provide cover for your attackers. Splashes of light and pools of shadow add not only to the atmosphere, but also to the gameplay. We found it safest to stay in well-lit, vegetation-sparse areas.
When you take your first hit of damage, you start to look cut-up and haggard. You also receive a temporary speed boost, which is a good thing, because it allows you to escape the danger area and dispatch the horde. One more hit and you’re a goner. That’s right, you can only take two hits, so caution is key.
Occasionally a furry will drop a crate containing a shotgun. You can pick it up for several rounds of powerful three-bullet blasts, or you can unload on the crate to make it explode, sending shrapnel in all directions.
Aside from the shotgun crates, the only other items dropped by the furries are clovers. Collect three, and you turn into an invincible monster, capable of destroying all baddies in your path. This turning of tables adds a fun dimension to the game, but you’ll want to watch your dwindling clover icons, because when you turn back to normal you’ll want to be far away from your foes.
Your iTunes library is available in-game, but at first you’ll want to stick with the awesome, cinematic score. It matches the tone of the game perfectly, with a quirky, dark mood that wouldn’t be out of place in the Danny Elfman songbook.
The included leaderboards are a welcome feature for a high-score game like this. They’re provided by OpenFeint, a social networking platform where you can track your scores, keep a friends list, and participate in insipid chat room discussions with strangers.
Our only real complaint about Minigore is its limited scope. You only get one map, two weapons, and four similar types of enemies. We want more of everything. We would also love to see health power-ups and a multiplayer mode.
Developer Mountain Sheep promises additional content in future updates, including a co-op mode, radar, additional maps, and, mind-bendingly, Enviro-Bear as a playable character.
It speaks to the game’s quality that the worst thing we have to say about Minigore is that we want more. As is, this is a stylishly fun diversion, definitely worth your buck. If the updates come through as advertised, the game may leap to “must-have” status. As always, we’ll keep you posted.