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For: iPhone   Also on: PSP


Product: Kick-Ass | Developer: Frozen Codebase | Publisher: WHA Entertainment | Format: iPhone | Genre: Fighting, Film/ TV tie- in | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.3
Kick-Ass iPhone, thumbnail 1
If someone hits you in the face, the good book tells us to turn the other cheek. The implication is such behaviour will make the offender think twice about their dastardly actions and repent, not repeat.

If they thumped you even harder the second time, you might start thinking about the more draconian punishments specified in older monotheistic canons.

Effectively that's the situation we find ourselves in with the second release of Kick-Ass: The Game.

Kicked up the ass

Much anticipated, the movie tie-in was released to strong criticism for its unfinished and appalling lack of quality. Hence, it was removed from the App Store under the explanation that it was a beta version mistakenly released.

Seven days later, however, it's available once more, with an update said to "take into consideration many user comments and fix control bugs." It's hard to see the impact of either.

Bluntly put, the first version of Kick-Ass was one of the worse games I've ever played. The second version is the worst.

If developer Frozen Codebase and publisher WHA Entertainment had any clue about how bad the initial version of the game was, they would have realised any update wasn't going to be good enough and dropped the project entirely.

Maybe if the first release really had been some sort of 'three months ago prototype wrongly uploaded to the App Store,' then perhaps it would have been worth releasing the proper version. Clearly that's not the case.

Instead, it's now technically less functional than before. Frankly it's a surprise it passed through Apple (twice) such is the level of shoddy controls, jumpy cutscenes, and appalling collision detection.

Cut to the point

In terms of features, there are 12 twin-stick shooter levels split between Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Big Daddy as playable characters. Kick-Ass has his Gatling gun-powered jet pack, Hit-Girl her dual pistols and Big Daddy a shotgun. Each has a melee move too.

Levels break down into killing enemies, staying alive for so many seconds, getting to a certain point in the level in time, rescuing hostages by standing in a green circle for 5 seconds, and boss fights. There are also four levels you can unlock as survival Arenas but there's really no point playing them.

None are fun or require anything other than moving around and rotating your guns. There are no tactics, which is just as well because the collision detection is dreadful and enemies spawn right in front of you.

Thankfully most levels can be completed in less than 60 seconds, although it's notable that the difficulty of some levels has been increased since the first release, in fact making them more frustrating. You can still complete the game in about 30 minutes.

At least this means you have to use the in-game shop where you can spend cash collected in levels on health packs and upgrades. This means you can just play the easiest level over and over again, accumulating cash for upgrades that make beating later levels a cinch.

Epic fail

Frankly it's hard even to summon up the enthusiasm to list game's faults.

The controls are jerky, especially in the Hit-Girl levels. She's almost limited to 90-degree angles of orientation. The animation is dreadful across the board and character models are blocky, textures blurred. There aren't any advanced effects such as shadows or particles.

Not even the menu system works properly, with the Arena button having too large a touch-sensitive area and the level selection buttons being too thin even for skinny fingers to select easily.

The whole experience feels like a first year college project, albeit one that would ensure the students concerned wouldn't make it into the second year. If it only cost 99c, I'd recommend you download it, just to experience how bad it is.

The only positives I can think of are the music and the graphic novel-style cutscenes, and these don't relate to anything that happens in the levels.

Yes. Kick-Ass is a game for which someone needs to ask forgiveness.
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 25 April 2010
Kick-Ass is the worst game on the App Store (twice)
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