Review – Sacred Guns: The Angel and the Mermaid by Mark Leung

Review – Sacred Guns: The Angel and the Mermaid by Mark Leung

Platforms: iPad, iPhone, Android

Game Name: Sacred Guns: The Angel and the Mermaid

Publisher: Uglysoft

Developer: Mark Leung

Genre: Action, Shooter

Release Date: March 12 2013

ESRB Rating: 12+ for mature themes

Developer Summary

When God decided to send a Great Flood to wipe sin from Earth, he assigned Noah to construct the Ark to keep him and the animals safe from harm… and YOU, the Archangel Mark Leung, to keep His unwanted creations out of the Ark.

What We Think

Sanity is a tired old meme. Sacred Guns shoots it in the face. Mark Leung, creator of Revenge of the Bitch, has created a hilarious and challenging touch-screen shooter that is sure to offend the easily offended.

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These flippin’ birds are flippin’ you the bird. Flip ’em back!

Raiding the Ark

Mark Leung is back, and this time he’s following a sacred calling. As Noah is in the frustrating process of collecting God’s chosen animals, it becomes clear that word of God’s great purging flood has slipped out. This has caused a panic amongst all the critters on the Earth, resulting in an en masse rush on the only floaty place in existence. Mark’s mission is to pick off the throngs of rejects.

The waves of unworthy critters consist of a throng of spoofed pop-culture icons, several of which have been fused with once popular memes. Teletubbies with the face of Spongebob Squarepants who also sport enormous breasts (Telejubblies?), crabs with the head of Justin Bieber, raging Winnie The Pooh clones wearing sports bras, and scores of others make up an eclectic horde of foes. Their sole purpose is to charge at Archangel Leung, destroy him in a gory explosive fashion, and force their way onto the ship. While the “lovingly borrowed” icons have been cleverly morphed to fit amidst the Ark storyline, there is almost no doubt which famous characters are being spoofed. Players who also enjoyed Mark Leung’s previous outing, Revenge of the Bitch, will recognize critters sporting the faces of developers that appeared in that title.

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Rubble Rubble, Toil and Trouble

Fresh Out of Holy Hand Grenades

Using the touchscreen, holding and moving a finger around the left side of the screen guides the reticule, while using another finger to contact the screen releases an attack. If the response of the reticule proves too tight or loose, the aim “smoothing” can be adjusted from with the control options.

Weapons such as the Holy Buster, Rainbow Katana and Firewall gloves can be employed in situations that demand immediate crowd control, but will consume mana, and may affect overall accuracy (thus taking away from a a three star level completion). Each initial time a 3 star rating is achieved on a stage results in a random stat upgrade.

Initially, Mark only has his golden guns to use, but other weapons can be unlocked by progressing through the game, or by purchasing them from Heaven between stages. Dispatching creatures will generate the gold required to purchase increases in ability. While the game can be completed by amassing gold for upgrades, there is also the option to purchase spending cash from “Heaven” by spending real-life cash (and this will be covered in greater detail later in the review).

Regardless of the number of upgrades puchased/obtained, the game will frequently litter the screen with dozens of baddies. Fortunately, the reticule handles well, and after some practice, the art of whipping about the screen to pinpoint tiny, faraway enemies becomes second nature.

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Mark Leung brings the funny

Golden Guns vs. Golden Arches

The game is divided into five chapters, and each fifth stage in a chapter houses a boss battle. These uber-baddies are all derived from the famed McDonald’s mascots, but imbued with all sorts of horrible ailments and vices. For example, Early Birdie is presented as Bird Flu, a haggard old harpy who spews large gobs of diseased esophogeal material between dive bomb attacks. Ronald himself is fused with the Joker (the Heath Ledger version), spouting insidious barbs when he’s not whipping out “Funny Meal” components as projectiles.

Clearing acts will also reveal hilarious animated comic cut scenes. The artwork is really top notch, and the epic feel conveyed in the stills cements the game’s total commitment to the utterly ridiculous.

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Jean! Nooooo!!

Revenge of the Profit Margin

Sacred Guns employs a “freemium” system of play (or at least, it did at the time of this review). It is still completely possible to play the game to its conclusion by completing rounds and racking up gold to purchase upgrades. However, An initial 99 cent purchase will increase the amount of gold collected in-game. Also, once the second act has been cleared, the player can purchase set amounts of gold to upgrade stats at a quicker pace. The allure is obvious: it is far easier to drop a couple of real world bucks to purchase in-game gold than it is to constantly repeat stages for far more meager rewards.

The pay-for-stat-upgrade system gets muddier still once the player clears the fourth act: the same amount of real world cash will now net twice as much in-game gold. Players (like me) that spent cash in the last two stages of the game are likely to feel burnt by this tactic. It seems a mite sneaky, and yet it’s perfectly in line with the freemium games the big boys are releasing. There’s profit to be had, right? And remember, folks: you can always play the game without them (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

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And then this happened…

I Could Go For a Little Mermaid

Freemium options aside, Sacred Guns is one hilarious shot at pop culture after another. The biblical subject matter is almost certain to get some folks up in arms, which is a shame, as the game really shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone. It’s a solid shooter rich in well-crafted parody, and the ability to play through any previously played stage allows players to drop in for a quick game at any time.

Get Sacred Guns: The Angel and the Mermaid at Google Play and iTunes

[xrr rating=”4/5″]