Nukezilla Review: Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World (PC)
A healthy dose of cynicism is expected any time you boot up a video game that has been designed to market any product or brand. Some examples of games as marketing tools that fell short of the mark or were downright offensive in their quality: Doritos Dino Dash of Destruction, Burger King’s Sneak King, Toyota’s Yaris (Racing), 7UP Cool Spot, etc. What makes Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World special, in that I can wholeheartedly recommend it? These guys: Adam Saltsman (Canabalt), Paul Veer (Super Crate Box), Robin Arnott (Deep Sea), Kozilek (Bitchin’ Music) and Ptoing (Rad Pixel Artist). Indie cred does not a great game make, so let’s talk about the five chapters/games that make up DM4.5WtStW.
The Great 2012 Dance Crisis
In this, the inaugural bout, our hero is tasked by his (Pedo?)Bear friend named Science with jarring apathetic US voters into action who are otherwise too preoccupied with Korean dancing to participate in the election. Donning an Old Spice deodorant jetpack, Dikembe journeys through the wide arteries of America on the path to the Heart of America, where you ultimately must defeat Ohio…the state. Each game follows a classic arcade game format – this one felt inspired by Toobin’, minus the tricky left and right hand paddling.
Furbies are the target of the goof in this three rail scroller, where you must stomp the man-sized dolls out of the view of passing children. Of course, since each of these games were written to be topical in the extreme, the impending shutdown at Hostess powers Dikembe up with Twinkies, Ho Hos and Sno Balls to defeat the Blurg King in the final battle. I can’t really pin the game being parodied here other than some of the on rails missions from Metal Slug.
The Lethal Dose of Teenage Vampire Romance Movies
Finally, we get the Mega Man level! Sure, there are laser eyed teen fan boys (the boys sparkle) and girls, and the goal this time is to destroy lottery balls to prevent Hollywood fat cats from releasing another culture crushing vampire film. While repetitive, I had a lot of affinity with this round as the final boss encounter was semi-challenging for the first time and reminded me of those classic, sadistic robots from yesteryear.
The Problematic Hoagie Problem
Dikembe must feed Princess Kate a massive American Hoagie and 142 ounce soda. This game felt the most rushed, though as a result of yoga exercises your legs can grow until you reach the top of the screen. This marks the second of three shmup-style levels and I got the feeling the devs had a hard time turning this week’s game out. They land their saving throw with the final boss, a 40-foot tall pregnant woman whose shrieks cause rubble to fall from the sky.
The Last Game We May Ever Play?
Pure shmup, pure fan-service; this level has you flying through the cosmos battling hand drawn internet memes and JPGs. Easily the best game of the bunch, this one is hard enough to require multiple attempts even though the game generously provides checkpoints a plenty. Dikembe battles The Internet and finds there’s no defeating the internet; only sacrifice and a pure heart will out.
In closing, I had a very good time playing all of these corny, nonsense, pandering mini games. It’s one thing to market to a gamer demographic with half-assed sophomoric product, but this was made by some of the heroes of the indie scene, it can be completed in less than a half an hour and while not every level may be your style, there’s humor and fun to be enjoyed unless you’re Ebenezer Scrooge.
This review is day twenty-three of the December 2012 Nukestravaganza