I've been experiencing different levels of excitement for Monty Python's Cow Tossing [99¢ / HD] since I saw the first details on the game at the International Mobile Gaming Awards last month. Since then, I posted the trailer, and generated a bit of excitement from fellow Monty Python fans in comments and on our forums. The game launched yesterday, and I couldn't wait to try it.

See, I've been a Monty Python fan as long as I can remember, and have watched Monty Python and The Holy Grail more times than I could even estimate in my lifetime. I suppose it's my own fault for letting my imagination run wild, but I figured classic Monty Python style Holy Grail humor combined with Angry Birds gameplay could have been a combination that worked incredibly well.

Monty Python's Cow Tossing is based around the point of King Arthur's quest in The Holy Grail where they come across the French stronghold on the search for the grail. After an exchange of taunts, the French claim to have the grail, and Arthur demands it. At this point, the French launch a cow over the wall at Arthur and his men, which is what you'll be doing in Cow Tossing-- Launching farm animals at English knights who are often positioned inside of various structures which will also need to be destroyed, exactly like Angry Birds.

Unfortunately, things go pear shaped quickly. The game takes an incredible amount of time to load each level, even on recent devices. The physics of the game itself are crazy, and not in a good way. Aiming is entirely too difficult, and the additional adjustments that allow you to move the catapult around a bit only serve to make things more convoluted. Also, in the event of you actually hitting a weak point of the English defenses that causes it to fall over, the frame rate often drops to unbelievable levels. There's more that I didn't like, but you probably get the idea.

Despite all this, Monty Python's Cow Tossing does happen to have a few interesting things that are vaguely redeeming. Instead of being limited by the amount of ammo you have, you're forced to complete each level in a certain amount of time. Each level features an English battering ram rolling towards your French defenses, and if this battering ram reaches you, the level is over. The English defenses that you must destroy are often built on top of this battering ram, which forces you to re-adjust your aim with each shot instead of just getting more accurate via trial and error.

Another cool thing is how power ups are handled. They drop from the sky and you can time your shots to match your ammo to its corresponding power-up for a bonus effect. For instance, if you launch a cow through the cartoony bacterium falling from the sky it will turn in to a mad cow and do tons more damage. There are also power-downs to avoid, and launching your animal through them will cause your shot to fall to the ground.

All in all, Monty Python's Cow Tossing is full of wasted potential. There are clips of the movie included, so presumably they had quite a bit of free reign over the Holy Grail IP, which is why it makes so little sense to me how little of the movie's humor actually translates to the game. I was hoping for an absolutely ridiculous parody of Angry Birds, and instead all we really got was a half-baked Angry Birds clone with a Monty Python skin.

The moving battering ram and its associated defenses are a neat feature, and it's nice that they've included some clips from the movie in to the game. Overall, I'd just download Angry Birds and either rent or buy Monty Python and The Holy Grail from iTunes instead.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Kablukiw

    At least they might have included an African swallow.

    • uBainow

      "Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?" hehe

  • Fv

    when people always say "exactly like angry birds" i always think but isnt angry birds exactly like bowman! i think so.

    • http://twitter.com/DaveMc99TA Dave Mc

      More of a Crush the Castle clone

      • Bellyup

        We should set a rule that if you're gona compare anything to Angry Birds you HAVE to also mention Crush the Castle!

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        The only people who know what Crush the Castle is are the people who need to incessantly point out that Angry Birds is based on it in every article that vaguely has to do with Angry Birds. To everyone else, Angry Birds is their first exposure to this type of gameplay. I'm not sure I'm in a position to reeducate the tens of millions of people who fit this description.

      • Bellyup

        Then who is if not a reviewer on an app review site? its not likely to come up anywhere else and to be honest its interesting to know how these ideas develop and which group of games are considered similar, someone might discover something new by mentioning a couple of similar games rather than one they most likely already know about.

        When you liken a game mech to one other game regardless of what that is you are implying that one is the original and all others including the one you're comparing are derivatives, but when you liken a game mech to a group of games you get away from any bias towards one particular game...

        Now I understand you may have a bias towards Angry Birds for being a better game but the implication is also that it is the original, which is why I think lots of people "incessantly point out" as they would disagree with that implication.

        all that needed to be changed was "exactly like Angry Birds" to something less bias like "similar to games like Angry Birds and Crush the Castle" and to be honest Crush the Castle is particularly relevant in this case.

      • Guest

        You have a habit of deleting posts you don't agree with..

      • Anonymous

        That's a pretty nonsensical answer by Eli.

        "Because it is popular it's the only thing we need to mention". You basically also wrote off Crush the Castle as being an unknown game.

        Why IS IT unknown? Because the iOS journalism circuit completely ignores mentioning it in favor of pushing more Angry Birds news.

      • Guest

        Watch out Eli has an itchy Delete comment finger today..

      • readyfireaim

        That's like saying that anytime mentions Call of Duty in a review, they have to mention that it's a DOOM clone. Doesn't make much sense.

      • Antellsw

        Doom is a Wolfenstein 3D clone! :D

      • Gwet17

        Yeah, but I think it improved upon Crush the Castle by adding characters, a sense of fun, a personality, and a boatload of content.

  • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

    Might be cool not to waste precious editorial space on bad games and keep it to support good indie stuff instead. Just saying...

    • http://twitter.com/MichaeltheK Michael Kaufman

      I disagree. It's almost as useful to get advice on what to avoid as it is on what to buy.

    • http://twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott Colbert

      Not this pointless argument again... *eyeroll*

      • Guest

        I'd be interested to know why you think thats a pointless argument?

      • http://twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott Colbert

        It's pointless because Eli has said on numerous occasions the reason they review the games they do. All the comments in the world aren't going to change which games get reviewed.

        If people don't like the way they select games for review they can certainly start their own review site. I don't agree with Eli some of his reviews or articles, but hey, it's not my site. If I don't like it, I find another. You can't please everyone and if you try you're doomed to fail.

      • Fred

        Scott, I think it's absolutely fair -- and likely very helpful to the reviewers -- to point out which reviews you prefer and which one you don't like to see here. Whether or not the TA reviewers will follow up on that of course is a different question. Personally I'm really happy with the selection of post, including this one.

      • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

        Yep. Just my feedback as a reader. And of course TA is perfectly free to ignore it.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I'm following up on a preview post we did. It's common procedure around here when we talk about a game and it comes out.

      • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

        Fair enough. I still wish there would be more indie and less mainstream on TA like the old days ahem...

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        You have a strange definition of "indie" then as aside from mentioning an EA and Gameloft game in our New Zealand release game listing, everything else on the front page of TouchArcade currently is by an indie developer.

      • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

        You're right. The sheer amount of indie makes it impossible to cover them all. And you do support them. My point was just that you don't have tons of entries every day and each time I see another non-story about a game that you don't even seem to like yourself, I wish you would have devoted that time to push an indie that you love. I understand the need to answer to the demand of your readers, but maybe I'm not your typical reader. A few lines saying that Cow Tossing was disapointing would have done the job for me. And by indie I guess I meant underdogs. The ones who really need you to step out from the shadows.

      • Eric5h5

        When they *do* only post positive reviews of indie games they like and ignore the bad stuff--which is what they actually do 95% of the time--then they get people complaining about "how come you only post positive reviews, not everything is good, you have no integrity blah blah blah." So, apparently, they can't win.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        We really can't. ;)

      • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

        3 posts above this one are all about devs that got tons of coverge already in the past. All I'm trying to say is how about the ones no one knows about? It's not about winning or losing. I said that you did good in supporting the indies already. But do you need to come back several times on the same ones?

      • http://twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott Colbert

        The big games are also news though. This is about iDevice games of all stripes with that comes news about those games. Much as I like Angry Birds, I don't have enough interest to read articles on everything about it-but it's still news given the phenomenon it's become. I skip those and look for what interests me.

        The reality is if you want to hear about indie games and their relative worth you have to read the forums. I've found more good games there, than just about anywhere else.

      • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

        I am senior member on the forums and I always dig them for unknown gems. But how many people have time to do this? We've seen what a life changer a post on the front page can be for little devs. And again kudos for that to TA. But IMO there's been more and more space recently dedicated to recurrent news about well know titles and less about underdogs. My point is :"With great powers come great responsability".

      • Guest

        Zed are far from Indie!

  • http://twitter.com/Kush3 Marc Kusnierz

    That gameplay video looked more ridiculous that anything I've recently seen...

  • Acidbottle

    id have prolly purchased this regardless if id seen the review first as im a mad fan of python ..

    however this really is a shocking release. the frame rate is a joke. the game mechanics are thoroughly unenjoyable to match.

    • Broken

      I have to agree. Waste of two bucks.

  • Guest

    Way to go banning and deleting anything you don't agree with Eli... Bad form Eli, seriously bad form!!!!

  • Guest

    Its one thing to ban trolls and put them off from trolling again... but when you ban IPs of readers who are trying to contribute to your site and you silence them do you really think they'll just lie down and take it.. you're creating enemies of the readers and visitors that make you money, you have done it many times to many people, you behave like the fanboy you are Eli...

  • EastsideStompers

    Seems like app store suicide to attempt such a lazy Python game. What a waste.

Monty Python's Cow Tossing Reviewed by Eli Hodapp on . Rating: 2