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iPhone  header logo

Burn The City

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

All ‘Zilla, no pillars

Product: Burn The City | Developer: JoshOClock | Format: iPhone | Genre: Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Burn The City iPhone, thumbnail 1
The App Store is full of wonderfully literal titles. In a marketplace where millions of apps are jostling for attention, developer need something instantly attractive: a name that doesn’t just catch the eye, but lets players know exactly what they can expect for their 59p or so. Hence: Cut the Rope, Angry Birds, Feed Me Oil.

Burn The City doesn’t quite deserve to be put alongside such exalted company, but if skyscraper immolation is your thing, then its name pretty much confirms you’re in for a good time.

The towering inferno

The object on each of the 45 stages currently available (we’re promised Chapter 2 is ‘coming soon!’) is to destroy every building in sight. As a chunky cartoon Godzilla-alike, you need to aim fireballs to accomplish said task. This is done by dragging your finger away from your monster’s gaping maw, releasing it to spit out a sphere of molten death.

Initially, it’s all very simple – hock a lava-loogie or five and watch as towers collapse, reactors explode and planes plummet earthward from well-aimed shots – but soon a few wrinkles are added. Levels take on more of a puzzle-led approach, requiring you to smash obstacles before buildings can be reached, or to release gigantic wrecking balls at the right time to demolish whole districts.

Power-ups are added to the equation, too: green collectibles give you an atomic bomb to detonate with a tap once it’s landed, while chomping a red item gives you a laser sight to fire a thin but deadly beam of liquid magma.

Burn, baby, burn

Pity, then, that aiming the latter can often seem like pot luck – you’re able to scroll around the screen before taking your shot, but the inability to zoom out or change your view while firing means you have to take an educated guess as to where your projectile will end up.

Even with these new additions, the game does get a little too samey a little too quickly. Granted, expecting variety from a game called Burn The City is perhaps a tad optimistic, but the ideas it introduces are repeated several times with only minor changes to the formula. It’s a problem exacerbated by the fact that there’s only one level theme: night.

Something doesn’t feel quite right about the physics, either. While your fireballs arc gracefully through the purple starry skies, buildings are by turns ridiculously sturdy and almost comically flimsy, often bouncing around as they hit the floor as if made from a compound of balsa wood and rubber.

Appetite for destruction

It’s occasionally inconsistent, too - hitting skinny spires and explosive reactors triggers the expected results, but hit a standard building and you can’t be certain that your shot is going to have the desired effect. A seemingly perfect shot might cause a pitiful amount of damage, while a poorly-aimed effort suddenly sparks a chain reaction out of nowhere.

Similar issues have sunk lesser games, but the central mechanics of Burn The City are enjoyable enough that you’ll be happy to overlook them, if not entirely forgive them. And there’s no denying you get what you pay for.

 
Burn The City
Reviewer photo
Chris Schilling | 5 July 2011
A cheap and cheerful destroy-em-up that makes up for in fun what it lacks in elegance
 
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