Destructopus is a game with a novel and interesting premise. In it, nature fights back against man’s constant drive to redevelop the world’s landscape. Apparently the world is getting rather sick, with corporations everywhere destroying the natural habitats of Earthly inhabitants, causing global warming and pollution everywhere. However one day man goes too far when it goes exploring for oil and pisses off Destructopus, a kind of Loch Ness Monster of the sea. In order to restore balance to the world, Destructopus sets about to destroy the polluting factories and other man-made structures and save Earth’s endangered species. Do I have your attention?
Of course there is great irony in restoring the natural habitat by destruction of the structures built on it, but storyline is never going to be the strength of a romp and stomp adventure. You control Destructopus as it progresses through 16 levels of 2D side-scrolling action. To begin with the game feels and plays a lot like the classic Rampage! game, and indeed it is likely inspiration was drawn from this given that the game’s press release works in the intended pun “Rampage” (complete with capitalisation).
Touch controls on the left of the screen move Destructopus left and right, along with “duck”. Tapping on the right side of the screen makes Destructopus punch, kick, and lunge. Tapping and holding on the right of the screen aims Destructopus’s laser, which emanates from somewhere around the forehead region, but I could never work out the real source of this unusual ability.
It’s fun for a while romping across the land bringing down buildings and factories with uncontrolled demolition, but the action quickly gets repetitive. The game tries to change up the action by having different objectives but the problem is that it isn’t made clear what the objectives are. In most levels, racing through as fast as possible is enough to advance, but in some levels you won’t advance unless you destroy enough things on the way to the goal. You won’t know this though, until you reach the end of the level and find that you’ve “failed” the level.
There are a couple of boss battles, and the less said of them the better. These are boss battles in name alone, and I could not fathom how these levels (hint: just hold your finger/laser aim over the boss for about 20 seconds – it doesn’t move – until it loses all it’s health) could have made it into the final game.
Destructopus could have been much better than the game about to release to the App Store. Given the nature of iOS apps, it is possible we could see new levels being added as updates (some varied scenery might be nice). But given the game’s in-app drive to push add-on purchases (real-world money purchases are offered confusingly side-by-side with in-game currency purchases in the game’s upgrade store), I don’t see any any free content being added any time soon. At $2.59 it won’t break the bank, but with only a little more thought and effort this game could have been significantly better.