Pigs get a bad rap these days. What with all these allegations made by birds desperately in need of Prozac, it’s hard for an honest porker to get a fair shake. Luckily for the porcine world there is one pig who rises to meet the challenge, the noble and talented Hambo, out to show the gaming world there’s more to this little piggy than an unquenchable thirst for eggs.
Hambo is the hero of a challenging physics strategy game that gives those aforementioned Angry Birds a run for their money. The player guides our swine hero (decked out in Stallone-ish attire) through a seemingly endless number of tricky levels where both timing and accuracy are required to take down his cowardly military pig enemies. Much like Angry Birds each level is a puzzle of sorts through which you must help Hambo fire his menagerie of assault weapons to wipe out the opposition. Only rarely are the enemy pigs lined up for an easy shot. Most of the time the wily Hambo is required to hit by ricochet or first break some obstruction, such as a plate of glass, out of the way.
Hambo himself only moves when the physics of a particular level require him to and this is where true strategic thinking comes into play. Need Hambo to move someplace else to take the killshot? You’d better figure out a way to get him pushed there without getting killed in the process! Of course your main objective is to massacre your enemies with the highest score possible. This means going hog-wild by spraying bullets willy-nilly is not your best option, not only does this lower your score it greatly increases the chances of getting hit by your own ricochet! There is no time limit so it’s best to calmly think out the precise order of shots you need to take to turn all your enemies into Spam before taking the first shot. This is especially important on those levels where the first shot sets a number of things in motion which will later mean your timing must be spot on.
As you advance to harder and harder levels of the Hambo game, your score allows you to shoot for immediate access to higher levels, earn bizarre outfits for dressing Hambo should the Sylvester Stallone look not please you, or extra hints and skips which will show you how to solve particularly vexing puzzles or skip them all together.
If there is one aspect to Hambo that really burns my bacon, it’s two finger interface, requiring one finger to aim and one to fire. This would not be so inconvenient if not for the fact you need to keep the aiming finger above or directly behind what you are aiming at. On the iPad this probably makes little difference but on the iPhone it means you’re a blocking a lot of the screen with your finger. Really annoying if the object you are trying to fire on is moving or hidden in a tight space. If I wanted to spend that much time looking at the back of my own hands I’d get a gang tattoo!