Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! Preview
You know, video game titles have to be finite. They have to have an end. They can’t run on forever because if you have to sit there reading, you’ll never get to the actual game. The title of this game reads- “Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This?” They couldn’t just cut it off after the first sentence? Really? Well, if the name is this crazy and quirky, we expect nothing less from the entertainment inside the box and based on what we’ve seen and heard so far, we’ll definitely get something entirely original. You may be confused when you view the screenshots above so perhaps it’s best to describe the experience as what might happen if a developer – a developer like Acquire, for instance – decided to blend the age-old concepts of Dig-Dug and a standard old-school role-playing format. In this way, we really have no idea how to classify this but just because the title is so ridiculously long, we’re gonna be all spiteful and go with the shortest categorization possible: RPG. It might be inaccurate but hey, get over it. We like the contrast between title and genre.
With this old-fashioned visual palette, it makes perfect sense to assume you take the role of something completely implausible…in this case, the God of Destruction. Of course, you aren’t some gigantic monster with magic capabilities; nope, you’re just an animated pickaxe, summoned by the Overlord to help him control the world. Of all the help he could recruit, he chooses you, the Pickaxe of Death and Agony (okay, we made that one up). But before you embark on your immense quest, the Overlord is having a little trouble holding onto his gold. Nasty little creatures keep tunneling into his dungeon and stealing his loot, and it falls to you to deal with this problem as quickly and efficiently as humanly – or “pickaxe-ly” possible; just break down those 2D blocks and make a path for yourself. Hitting square breaks the block, Triangle lets you zoom in and out, and X gives you a status update but…uh…there really isn’t anything else to talk about. We checked out IGN’s hands-on session to insure that we weren’t missing something crucial based on our baseline info, and we’re not. This is all you do.
But those who love the old-style 2D design will likely gravitate towards these throwback graphics and simplified gameplay. Because even though the mechanics are about as simple as one could possibly hope for, there’s still plenty to think about, and this extends far beyond the question of “which block do I destroy now?” You will have to manage the dungeon environment, which means you’ll have to keep an eye on the nutrients and mana that run through the ground. You also have to watch the invading creatures; not only will they steal gold, but if they get far enough, they’ll steal the Overlord himself. It doesn’t say much for this guy if he’s utterly defenseless in the face of random enemies, but nobody said this adventure was going to be logical. If the Overlord is captured, the baddies will try to drag him back to the surface, which will immediately infuse your actions with a whole new sense of urgency. But getting back to this whole nutrients/mana/creatures setup, it’s going to take some time to acclimatize yourself to the gameplay, despite the ease of control. IGN uses the example of the Slimemoss, a basic monster that “absorbs soil nutrients and carries them elsewhere.”
Now, they appear when you bust up a block filled with nutrients, and they represent the start of the “food chain.” The food chain is exactly what it sounds like: monsters eating other monsters begets new monsters. When there are enough nutrients in one single block – helped along by the aforementioned Slimemosses – you can break it and watch as an Omnom pops out. These are bugs that eat the Slimemosses, and once they do, the Omnom transforms into an Omnom Fly. Of course, this chain is quite long and intricate, and it’s essential that you understand exactly how it works in order to manage your surprisingly complex underground environment. See? There’s a lot more to deal with than just pressing the Square button over and over, so don’t think for one second the game will grow tiresome or boring. If it does, you simply aren’t a fan of the genre…whatever genre this may be. The PSP has been home to many unique titles in the past few years – remember, Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? – so maybe it comes as no surprise to see something like this. We can always use fresh, original ideas in the world of gaming, regardless of the platform.
For the open-minded gamer on the go, Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This? could be a must-try. Chances are, you’d see the title and go look up this preview, anyway, so at least you’ll be informed, right?
5/12/2009 Ben Dutka