Game Rant’s Anthony Mole reviews Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon
Back in the year 2001 a game was released called The Simpsons Road Rage. While the title was a treat for fans of the TV show (as well as Crazy Taxi lovers), the novelty wore off fast due to repetitive gameplay. To put it quite simply, Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon is this generation’s Simpson’s Road Rage.
Ugly Americans is a twin stick shooter based on the television show of the same name. Players take control of one of the show’s four central characters and play through a story set in the series universe. While the the cutscenes are laugh-out-loud hilarious, that’s all the game really has going for it; there are a plethora of design choices that lower the game from passable to just plain terrible.
First off, the game itself is abysmally short. The title is divided into case files and there are more fingers and thumbs on an average human’s hands than there are case files. To make it worse, the game can be completed in one sitting. Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon gives the option to play as four of the characters from the show, though this does nothing for replayability – as none of the characters offer his/her own perspective on the story or have an individuated campaign, characters are entirely interchangeable. Aside from each character’s respective special ability, the only difference between one character and the next is purely aesthetic. Players can level-up their protagonist of choice and distribute points to certain attributes – but that’s only useful if a gamer is going to play through the game multiple times.
The shooting itself is solid, players can pick up different ammo types (i.e. propane tanks, eight balls) which offer some variety to the shooting – though, despite decent core mechanics, the experience is marred by a variety of technical issues. The game will constantly lock players into a section of the map and will not allow them to move further on into the level, or backwards into previously visited areas unless the can eliminate the majority of enemies on screen. Sure, this is an old-school arcade mainstay but, in the world of more modern titles, some players will likely move away from enemies – only to find themselves stuck in a corner and surrounded.
This leads to another potential frustration – it’s easy to get overwhelmed by enemies. The hordes wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the developers had included a melee weapon – to better manage close encounters. Instead, players will be forced to shoot their way out of a corner, with teams of enemies clumping together. While gamers do have access to a special ability that will help clear out larger groups of enemies, the power actually leaves players vulnerable for a period of time after they use it – punishing anyone for making use of the mechanic. The player won’t lose health if they’re hit when using their special ability – but their score multiplier will drop.
The four player co-op may help to alleviate some of these issues, but sadly four times the players means four times the enemies – and not necessarily four times the fun. It can become very easy to lose track of who-is-who in the online chaos, and the issues of overwhelming enemies just become worse. Luckily there is a resuscitate button to revive fallen teammates – which can be especially useful when facing larger enemy hordes.
At the end of the day, fans of Ugly Americans may find some fun in Apocalysepgeddon. The series’ humor remains intact, but eventually even the most die hard fans may find that the novelty of being attacked by a Manbird with over-sized genitalia wears off fast when you’re constantly fighting against the game’s poor design choices.
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon is available now through the PSN and XBLA