The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
The Bug Butcher
I had heard so many great things about The Bug Butcher ($3.99), both from its positive reception when it released on Steam at the beginning of the year and from those beta testing the mobile version for the past months, that the moment it hit the App Store this week I bought it and fired it right up. Ten minutes in and I knew this game was something special. Then another ten minutes, then another, then an hour, and then… well, let’s just say things spiraled out of control and The Bug Butcher has hooked me like few games before it.
The Bug Butcher is an homage to the Pang series, also known as Buster Bros. You may recall that DotEmu released an enhanced remake of Pang on mobile earlier this year called Pang Adventures ($3.99), and it’s very, very good! But it’s no Bug Butcher. The premise of the game is that you’re an intergalactic exterminator, called in to clear out an infestation of alien bugs at a space research facility. Your character can move left and right, dash, and fire his weapon vertically. Each level has you fighting off waves of enemies that come in from all sides of the screen, the majority of which will be bouncing around, giving you a chance to blast them when they arc above your head.
On paper, The Bug Butcher sounds a bit benign, and I was trying to put my finger on what it is that makes this game so cracking. I believe it’s two things. First is the progression system. The first level gets you familiar with basic attacks and enemies, and the second level introduces weapon crates, which will randomly spawn while you play and offer you a variety of ways to dispatch bugs. As you make your way through the campaign, new weapons and enemy types keep things moving in a fresh direction, and your ability to collect coins and upgrade your weaponry, your special abilities, and your suit itself give you that push to keep on going. It’s like a constant drip feed of awesome stuff.
The second element that makes The Bug Butcher so hard to put down is its fantastic scoring and combo system. It’s simple, really. Kill as many bugs in succession as you can without waiting too long in between kills or taking damage to keep your combo multiplier rising. Given how the enemies tend to split apart multiple times and/or spew out tiny enemies of their own, having a screen absolutely filled with enemies is common and makes the drive to continue your combo even greater. That’s the rub, though, as if you get too obsessed with keeping a combo going chances are you’ll get careless and take damage. But keeping that combo up is key to gaining high scores and earning all the stars for each level. Classic risk/reward gameplay.
If you handed Super Pang to Spinal Tap and they cranked it up to 11, that’s The Bug Butcher. Its core mechanics are incredibly solid, the art and animation are second to none, the music and sound effects are top-notch, the touch controls are surprisingly great, and the progression system is nearly flawless. For a fistful of dollars you can get yourself a frantic action game that will live a long and happy life on your device with no ads or IAP to muck up the experience. If you’ve previously enjoyed games like Pang Adventures or Glorkian Warrior (Free) on mobile, do yourself a favor and grab The Bug Butcher right away.