May 19, 2014
Saluting old school type of games never gets old. Never. Whack the Mervins proves that.
Right from the start, it gets up on a pedestal and screams “retro” to the top of its lungs. The graphics have a distinct pixelated feel to them, and the game mechanics are rendered in the jerky manner old school arcade junkies will appreciate. The splotches of color are used judiciously to underscore the main thematic concepts; altogether, it looks like an interesting blast from the past.
With regards to gameplay, Whack the Mervins is a 2D-platform adventure. It’s almost impossible to not think of the Mario brothers early offerings, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The action moves from right to left as our protagonist works his way through hazards and obstacles; to effect this, there are virtual controls at the corners of the screen: a movement joystick on one side and a shoot button with a jump button on the other. The main obstacle is the created playing area, with changing environments that force exploration to get through. there are also lethal creatures that hurt by contact; this is where the weapon can be useful. Getting rid of these “ghosts” can also lead to jewel payouts, as can head-butting particular structures. The baddies can also be handled by jumping on them when possible.
One gets three lives, and these can be used up by making contact with baddies or inadvertently jumping off a cliff into, say, a deep body of water. The further one gets, the more points are accumulated.
The developer does a good job of incorporating elements such as ladders, spikes, boss play and more into this game. Additionally, the game is low-frills from beginning to end: no ads or exhortations to spend real cash. What yousee is what you play, with no apologies.
Retro gaming is a privilege that Whack the Mervins delightfully partakes in.