Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion (XBLA/PSN) Preview
“Isn’t Orc Attack out already?” That was the first thing I asked myself when I received an invite to play Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion last week. Still, I found myself meeting with Doug Perry & Ted Lange, representatives from Reverb Publishing, who assured me that this crude beat-em-up has been in the works for a while. I told Doug that I had played some version of Orc Attack a year ago (though I didn’t let on that I wasn’t remotely impressed with the game back then): “Yeah, I believe that!”. Apparently Orc Attack has been shown just about everywhere, including the last 3 PAX events and is just now gearing up for a full release on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade on October 9th.
“We’re calling this a ‘fart-filled romp’,” Doug tells me with an a smirk as the game loads. “This is the kind of game where you sit down with your friends on a Saturday afternoon to beat the crap out of things”. As the intro sequence to the game plays back, complete with plenty of crude jokes and far noises, Ted deadpans: “We’re hoping for an Academy Award”. “Or at least a nomination for sound effects”, I reply. Ostensibly, this game is a play on the classic Gauntlet formula- four characters (complete with inspired names such as “Lord Poop” and “Doc Turd”), each with a different ability (Turd’s a fire-based character, har har har) hack and/or slash, roll dodge (“Orcs don’t block”, Doug tells me), and jump their way through linear levels and waves of enemies, though with a handful of twists. You can select your magic type at the very beginning of the game- a relatively standard version or “dirty” which allows for your hero to fart/burp their way through baddies. Clearly, you’d pick the latter option, otherwise, why are you even playing this game in the first place?
The game features four-player local and online co-op (though it doesn’t seem to have drop-in/drop-out capabilities) and encourages team gameplay. A section I tried with Ted allowed my character to fart near a cauldron, creating a large ring of fire that kept attackers at bay, while I was able to burp into his fart (yes, I know) to freeze baddies in their tracks. Each pairing of orcs has a specific co-op based attack- think of the team-up actions in the classic Simpsons arcade game, and you’re on the right track.
I enjoyed a couple tweaks Orc Attack brought to the formula. You can collect helmets/hats throughout gameplay that’ll affect gameplay; a sombrero gives a character a floatier jump, the chef hat increases effectiveness of health pick-ups throughout the level, etc. In co-op games, a user can revive a fallen hero by shaking the Sixaxis (on PS3) or wiggling the thumbstick (on 360). This is also how the player can restore health or activate switches at special shrines at certain points in a level. Another smart addition relates to the light-RPG elements that Orc Attack brings to the table. While the options- strength, mana, agility, defense- as well as point distribution is standard, a player can die or otherwise quit a level with the experience gained up to that point being persistent. In case a player is having a hard time with a level, it’s good to know that they can at least grind a bit to upgrade their hero.
As far as the game goes, it’s an improvement from what I had played a year earlier, if not significantly so. The combat is competent, the art style is simple but colorful, the humor is extra crude (and extra dumb). I have to say, the big issue I had with the build from 2012- the framerate- has been noticeably improved (I was assured that the framerate is stable even with four-players on screen at one time), which is good to see.
You can’t fault Reverb and Casual Brothers games, the developers of Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion, for selling this game as something it’s not. It’s a light, fun-hearted, incredibly crude brawler that’s suited for non-discerning audiences who can tolerate, if not appreciate, potty humor.
If there’s a point where I realized the exact type of game Orc Attack is, it was when Ted & I started up the second mission, featuring a blind sensei character that must be accompanied by the heroes to safety. ” Everybody always complains about escort missions, so not only do you have an escort mission, but the guy you’re escorting is blind”, Ted tells me. Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion is self-aware enough to poke fun at tired game tropes but seems to resort to them regardless. It wants to have its cake and eat it too. (perhaps farting and burping up excess gas after the fact). Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.
Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion will be released for PSN and XBLA on October 9th for $9.99.