Ugly Americans is a great show on Comedy Central about the everyday dealings of planet Earth, were it populated by demons and other strange creatures. In particular, it centers on an organization called the Department of Integration and its employee Mark Lilly, who tries to help immigrant creatures adapt to life in New York. It has coarse themes and language, but in all it has a very distinct style and great humor. Apocalypsegeddon seeks to cash in on this success story.
The simple twin-stick shooter, which is multiplayer only and supports up to 4 players, is presented in the same drawing style as the show. A short campaign of a few case files sees the core cast of Mark; Leonard, the awesome magician; Callie, the demon succubus and old man Grimes go on a mission to save the world. It’s fairly contradictory, seeing as demons want to usher in the end of days, but each has their own motive for participating. Along the way, they’ll crack wise and spout catchphrases, as will their foes. The idea is to recreate the show, complete with a short story from the second season.
As far as gameplay, things are fairly simple, as mentioned before. A twin-stick mechanic only gets amped up by two different buttons: one for reviving allies and one to launch periodic special attacks that use a fillable bar. There is some variety offered by picking up powerups and new weapons. Each weapon has a different firing method and trajectory, but each weapon is also customized for an individual character. By picking the right weapon, players add effects that give them an edge during the waves of undead and foulmouthed manbirds, whose less offensive one-liners include: “Put your cheeks into it” and “Take it all.”
Players can also look out for hidden case files, which unlock some extra content, or they can rescue babies, which add additional effects when fostering them. A prompt to rescue a baby in a particular area appears on the select screen to help rescue demon children in need. With four characters to level up to 60, going back to do some missions will occur anyway, so you might as well rescue kids, as well. The advancement mechanic includes traditional things like strength and health, but has also modifiers for the special attack, which is a plus.
The game seems to add up to a nice total package for mindless fun with a friend. It can be rather co-op friendly to have players assist one another by leaving powerups or better weapons to newcomers, while sheltering them from harm. As the game is challenging on the first go, it helps to have a powerful ally. Unfortunately, far from everything is well in the land of Apocalypsegeddon. For one, the game is really simple and short. Even with a few plusses, there’s not much variety in shooting the masses over and over. This gets worse with the fact that most levels repeat themselves in décor. The campaign always presents the same story and is short at that. This amounts to a huge repetition factor while trying to max out characters.
In addition, items obtained remain in the player’s possession and that for all characters, old and new alike. While it is a boost for further playthroughs, it also cuts down on longevity when none of the weapons matter after a first run. Only occasionally will new things get unlocked, but going through with it requires dedication. Going over the same street level a million times or taking on one of the few bosses isn’t compelling enough in itself; fandom has to be applied. Take into account that late game items, such as Demonheads, clutter the screen, and things become even worse.
Perhaps strangest of all, and this is fan grief only, is the absence of Randall Skeffington, zombie extraordinaire and showstopper of the series. With his crazy antics and raunchy lifestyle, he’d be the logical addition to the team, rather than a funny but otherwise dismissible Grimes. As the game offers downloadable content, it might still be possible that character DLC will be announced, but it should’ve been part of the deal from the get go.
In all, Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon isn’t a terrible game at all, but with a total that ultimately seems very simple, short and repetitive, it will be hard pressed to find a market outside of the show’s audience. As fan service, it is adequate enough, bringing the style and humor that make the show a success. But as an outside consumer, it is best advised to first try the demo and watch the show with a friend who is already a fan. Who knows, you might just become a fan yourself.
Review copy provided by publisher.