Backbone Entertainment is bringing its special brand of humor to consoles with Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon, a four-player side-scrolling action game based on the popular Comedy Central program Ugly Americans. We had a chance to try it out for a bit, and here are our early impressions on this game's attempt at the genre.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Ugly Americans revolves around a group of people who work in the Department of Integration. In this world, monsters and other weird creatures coexist. The show takes place in New York City, and the members of the DOI must deal with an assortment of odd events happening throughout the city, which mostly have the team trying to dispose of various foes that are not abiding by the number of bylaws set in place by the department. The team is led by human Mark Lilly and features his coworkers Callie Maggotbone, the daughter of Satan; tough guy Francis Grimes; and magic man and drunk Leonard Powers.
The game plays similarly to brawlers such as Castle Crashers, with all attacks being performed with the right analog stick. All four playable characters have their own strengths and weaknesses, and each has a special attack--activated with the right trigger--that does a significant amount of damage to nearby foes. Basic weapons, which include boomerangs, baseballs, and rockets, to name just a few, have their own strengths and weaknesses and definitely factor into how quickly you may progress through a particular section. While combat is more or less the same outside of the special attacks, a leveling system is in place that allows for better customization for each character
Furthermore, while in some games you can max out each trait for a character, that's not the case here. For example, one character, Francis, has really strong strength and spirit (special power), but his agility and guts (special speed) are extremely low. On the other hand, Leonard has strong spirit and guts but is low on strength and fortune. This customization should be really interesting early on if you begin to notice that a particular character better suits your play style.
While combat is easy to grasp, near the beginning it feels that playing with others is the way to go. Until you level up a particular character, don't be surprised if you die a few times before completing your first case file. Also, one of the first boss battles was extremely difficult and took quite a long time to complete when playing alone. Thankfully, both local and online multiplayer will be available, and once you start playing with others, the combat becomes significantly easier to manage, without feeling too easy.
Fans of the animated series should be able to pick up the game's brand of humor, and thankfully the combat, while difficult at first, is enjoyable. Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon is scheduled to launch on both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade at the end of August. Expect a full verdict around the same time.