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12 November, 2014

Super Secret Service Review

Super Secret Service is the kind of honest game where you truly get what you pay for, scrapping the IAPs and in-game adverts and getting on with the short bursts of frantic arcade gameplay– a quintessential "quick fix" experience.

This tidy little tapper is a collaboration between Austin Ivansmith (DuckTales Remastered), Johan Vinet (Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW) and composer, flashygoodness (Tower of Heaven) where you sacrifice the lives of thousands of agents to shield the president from incoming projectiles.

The gameplay is about as simple as it gets, alternating between taps of the left and right sides of the screen when necessary, a la Timberman. If a shoe, pie or pistol strikes the President it’s game over. But it’s the red herring items like boomerangs and paper airplanes that you really need to look out for. These items pose no threat, but their presence causes you to flinch, often pushing you to needlessly dispense of a valuable agent, leaving the President open to fast flying projectiles. It’s kind of like the video game version of the playground pastime ‘slaps’ (or ‘knuckles’, whichever was your cup of tea), where hesitation and rashness both have punishing consequences.

Sometimes, games of the instant restart ilk have a looping soundtrack that is agonising enough to the ears to negate any of the game’s addictive qualities. Super Secret Service does not suffer the same fate. The chiptune soundtrack provided by flashygoodness is reminiscent of classic SNES titles. Now I know that comparison gets thrown around like a size ten shoe at a presidential press conference in Baghdad. But it truly is the case with Super Secret Service. In addition to that, Ivansmith’s experience with DuckTales Remastered has inspired some incredibly polished character models. It was actually kind of morbid reviewing the stats at the end of a round, reading the names and birthdays and seeing the faces of every agent lost. Early on in the game I unlocked an achievement for losing at least one agent born in every month of the year. And now I’m working towards disposing of the entire service of ten thousand agents. I am a monster.

Super Secret Service’s impressive visuals and catchy melodies set the stage for a simple and increasingly frenetic passion project that harkens back to the simpler days of gaming. It may be a little bit too modest for the full asking price of $1.99, but you can get it for 50% off up until the 16th of November, and for what seems to be becoming an "added bonus" these days, once you've purchased the game you won’t be asked to shell out any more cash.

You can grab the game here.

Brodie Fogg

   - Super Secret Service 
   - Timberman

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