“Hey dude, let’s make a video game.”
“Sure, bro. What should we make?”
“Let’s do something with orcs, dude.”
“Naw bro, orcs are super done, bro.”
“Let’s make the orc fart, dude.”
While I’m sure that’s not how the actual conversation went when studio Casual Brothers decided to make Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion, that’s basically the way it turned out in the end. Orc Attack is a simple hack and slash game that’s over focused on bodily gases, just look at the description of the game:
“Fart or die in this hack-and-slash action game, where fun-loving Orcs battle pollution loving Humans in a humorous fantasy setting. Orcs have become victims of brutal Human expansion, as they are carelessly poisoning the environment. Now, four trained Orc heroes are retaliating with a Not-So-Silent yet very deadly plan. In either single-player or up to four-player co-op, you will take on the role of Orcs, each wielding a unique gaseous ability, and then take the fight to the Humans in a stinky, fart-filled romp.”
The description sums up the entire game pretty well. Humans are invading the Orcs home and the Orcs are trying to get them out using their flatulatory powers. You control one of four orcs, all with names crudely related to farts, and fight a battle against the humans.
From the outset, you’ll notice that only certain parts of the game are actually high definition. The character models look rather good for a $9.99 game and it’s easy to tell that the bulk of the design budget was spent there. Sadly the rest of the world is filled with two dimensional visuals that are painfully apparent. The environments are flat and you’ll fight the same character model thousands of times throughout the game. I have to give the game some credit in terms of level design. Each level looks, and feels, vastly different from the one before it. The snow levels are completely different than the desert levels. The enemies are different with each level also. While the basic enemy type is featured across the entire game, each level has at least two different, and unique enemy types. The snow levels have dwarves and mountain men, while the desert levels have mummies. The levels look nice enough that I was able to forgive the flat background and low resolution textures.
Sound on the other hand is a different beast all together, and by that I mean there’s not much of it. The narrator is the only voiced character in the whole game. He does a decent job sounding like he’s reading a child’s fantasy book but the rest of the game is filled with grunts and the stormtrooper death scream from Star Wars. While it’s always entertaining to hear an enemy die and scream like a stormtrooper, after you hear it nine times in the space of about 30 seconds it gets redundant and far too overdone. After playing through the first level you’ll hear all the sound bites that the game has to offer and can safely put some headphones in and rock out to your own music while mindlessly mashing one button for the 5+ hours of the game’s campaign.
Orc Attack is just that, a button masher, with deceptively simple, and often broken, gameplay. There's a button for heavy attacks, one for light attacks, another to pick up objects, one to fart, one to burp, and one to roll. You can, and will, get through 90% of the game only using the light attack button as dozens of enemies will swarm you on screen and stand there waiting for you to kill them. Occasionally, the game will throw a shielded unit into the mix and make you use your heavy attack to break the shield but even then that’s not enough to break the monotony of a one button win. The game play is Orc Attacks biggest flaw. What separates games like God of War from games like this, other than the budget? It’s the fluidity of the combat. Big name games like God of War let you attack quickly and at any moment during your attack switch to another move. You could be mid strike, notice an enemy attacking and quickly dodge away. Orc Attack lacks the ability to interrupt actions leaving you vulnerable while you wait for your strike to finish. This usually isn’t a problem as only one or two enemies will try to attack you out of a mob of 30 but during boss fights it is painfully apparent. Boss fights fall into the rhythm of two hits and run away and the lack of interruptible attacks rears it’s ugly head. Almost every boss in the game has two attacks, an area of effect attack and a charging attack and are as simple to beat as figuring out their pattern, which is almost always two area of attacks and then a charge. Boss battles become a simple grind as you have to be patient with your attacks.
Outside of boss battles, feel free to mash buttons to your hearts content. Another place where Orc Attack suffers is in its camera control, or lack there off. You have absolutely no control of where the camera decides to look. When you’re in battle the camera will lock onto an enemy and follow that enemy regardless of where you are facing or moving. Outside of combat the camera usually stays behind you but occasionally, and almost always when trying to make a jump, the camera would spin around and face me blocking my view of what was in front of me. Once you complete a level and get back to the overworld screen you are granted experience and money from the enemies you defeated in that level. You can assign points to your strength, defense, speed, or magic, but it has little effects on the actual gameplay. The enemies seemed to always take the same amount of hits to kill even with max strength and I always took the same amount of damage with max defense. The money from levels can be spent in the store to buy potions to heal you or weapons to do additional damage, but ultimately the only thing I ever actually bought were the charms that allowed me to come back to life when the bosses felt like being trolls and instances of bad camera angles, which happened a lot.
Not everything in Orc Attack is bad though. The game can be lots of fun to play with other people, provided you can find them. On five separate attempts I tried to find a game to join and came up empty. Eventually I just bribed one of my friends with food and made him join me in a game. The shortcomings of the game become much more tolerable when you have someone to beat up the humans with you and keep you from having to repeat a level every time you die. Something odd I noticed about the game was that it actually makes two save files. One that is the main save file and one that it a backup save file. If the main save file is deleted, or becomes corrupted, the game automatically loads the backup save file and creates a new backup file. This is the first time I’ve seen any game do this and it’s something that I can’t praise highly enough.
For a $10 game Orc Attack is decent for the price. You get what you pay for in this case. Go in for a cheap game and you’ll get is a cheap game. It will hold you over for a few hours, maybe more if you have some friends you can bribe/guilt into joining you, but don’t expect to come back to it once you’re finished.