August 21st, 2012 | By Charles Ferrendelli
Let’s be honest, bugs are gross, and chameleons are pretty laid back. When I’m outside having a barbeque who am I attacked by? Bugs. Who scares me at night when I get up to go to the restroom? Bugs. Chameleons not only leave us alone, but they kill those horrible little creatures. That’s why I’ve decided to participate in the mass extinction of all things insect in Lick A Bug.
In Lick A Bug you play as Cam the chameleon. Like all chameleons, Cam loves filling his belly on bugs. Cam also likes mangos and mushrooms, but we’ll get back to that later. Cam’s magical island paradise is being overrun by bugs and it’s your job to help him stop it. Lick A Bug plays like an endless Beat em’ Up/Hack and Slash game, but without any weapons outside of Cam’s tongue. You are met with waves of different bugs that tend to fall in the cute and non-dangerous category. Some of them are butterflies, ladybugs, beetles, fireflies, and slugs. I know most you don’t consider some of these insects evil, but I do. One time I was playing football and a butterfly flew into my mouth. Yup, time to get revenge on those bastards.
To get past a wave of bugs you are required to eat a certain amount of one species. Completing a wave unlocks a new species, and its rinse and repeat. With each new species the old ones stay in the world. By the end of each level you have bugs crawling and flying around everywhere.
Don’t think this is just a walk in the park, at about the third wave into the game enemies come into play as well. Some of the enemies are on the scarier side and include scorpions, spiders, Venus Flytraps, and wasps. They follow around Cam until they can catch up and eat him. Cam can take 5 bites before its game over.
Cam can fight back against these enemies if you pick up power-ups. These include mushrooms and mangos which make Cam a lot bigger for a short period of time. The mushrooms and mangos are used to either speed up Cam to get away from the enemies, or take them head on and eliminate them. During the time the power-ups last, Cam is also invincible. Mangos are rarer than mushrooms, but last longer when consumed. Overall I didn’t understand the point for eliminating enemies outside of improving your score as they spawn almost immediately anyway.
Lick A Bug offers 3 different worlds, Paradise, Dusk, and Dessert. Dusk looks a lot like paradise, just this time you’re playing at night. Dessert on the other hand feels fresh, and is my favorite level. Paradise and Dusk are in a jungle-type location with lush plants, waterfalls, and mountains. While it looks very beautiful, it can sometimes hinder the gameplay.
Lick A Bug’s camera is very low to the ground, and with plants scattered everywhere, they often interfere with the camera. While decreasing the height of the plants and raising the camera level takes you away from being a chameleon and would give you a more human field a view, I think it would make the gameplay more enjoyable at times. Before I got good at the game I found my camera getting completely blocked by a plant before I was slowly eaten. On the other hand, the dessert level doesn’t have these problems as it’s more of a desolate area. What these areas do have in common is they all look fairly nice.
Sadly these levels are somewhat short and the longevity of the game is purely in how high of a score you can get. The levels aren’t easy, and it will probably take you a few tries to unlock them, but once you do there’s not much to explore after that. Once you figure out how to avoid enemies properly the game becomes fairly easy and loses its interest.
Where Lick A Bug falls way short is in its longevity. From the main menu you can choose one of the three levels, or visit the developer’s web site. Outside of the core gameplay, that’s all Lick A Bug has to offer. Since the longevity of the game solely relies on Game Center’s leaderboards, it would’ve made sense to incorporate it into the main menu. Another option that would’ve been nice was a settings menu. While the sounds effects and music are nice and upbeat, they get old fast. So if you planned on listening to music or a podcast, you’re going to be disappointed as the game won’t let you. While I enjoyed the period of time I played Lick A Bug, I don’t see myself coming back to it anytime soon unless there’s an update that adds more content to the game. At $2.99 it’ll be up to the user to determine whether this amount gameplay is worth the price.
For more information on Lick A Bug, check out Chub Cheeck’s blog where they documented the entire development. It also features some helpful tips for those looking to make a game using the Unreal Development Kit. For more information on Chub Cheecks, check out their official website and like Lick A Bug on Facebook. To pick up Lick A Bug, visit the App Store. Currently Lick A Bug is available on iPad 2nd and 3rd generation.
Oh yeah, and in case you couldn’t tell I that I have a beef with bugs, I hate them so much that I am ranked #1 in the world currently. Pick it up and try to top me.