If you groaned and shook your head at the pun in the title of this review, then Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse probably isn’t the game for you.
Although, thanks to a little slider in its options menu that allows you to turn the corniness of the experience between a little to full on, maybe it is. You see, aside from its ridiculous premise and hilarious/terrible wordplay, Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse is a pretty good twin-stick shooter.
The situation is this, and prepare yourselves because it’s a good one: Llamazon, one of the world’s biggest corporations, has decided to cease the use of llamas to deliver its packages; drones are the future, see? Angered by Llamazon’s actions, The Llamanati has taken it upon themselves to hack into the data chips present in all delivery llamas and take control of them. Their goal? To take down Llamazon once and for all. The question is, can you, and up to three other players, thwart The Llamanati’s plans?
That’s right, Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse is a game all about shooting llamas. Granted, they’re vicious llamas hellbent on destroying the company you work for, but they’re llamas nonetheless. Some just run at you, others spit. A few even have bombs strapped to them. And your tools with which to cut them down to size are quadrupedal robots, primed with a trio of handy skills and the ability to utilise quite a large range of weapons. Although they aren’t all available to you at the outset.
Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse is hard, even on its more lenient difficulty setting. As you strive to make your way through its seemingly paltry three campaign levels you’ll die, die and then die again for good measure, but you’ll keep going back for more. Mostly just because it’s good fun. But also because every time you play you’re making progress towards unlocking all of the game’s perks and weapons, giving you that little boost needed to overcome The Llamanati’s forces.
Each level requires you to clear 10 areas of llamas, and along the way you’ll be given regular challenges to complete to unlock new perks. Though you’re not instantly awarded them; instead, perks are randomly selected from your available pool and sometimes granted upon finishing an area. One playthrough might be generous, giving you access to a range of valuable perks that speed up your reload time, make you move faster and bring you back to life when defeated. On another you might not be given access to any perks at all. It’s the luck of the draw, and while at times it can be a little infuriating to have a good run spoiled by a lack of ability boosting goodies, it makes each playing session unpredictable.
Weapons, on the other hand, are unlocked by simply using them. Get enough kills with the pistol, for example, and you’ll unlock the machine gun. Engage in merciless slaughter with that and you’ll unlock the shotgun. There are quite a few weapon types available including explosives and beams, and unlocking all varieties will take a while but is very beneficial to your cause. Again, being kitted out with your weapons of choice requires some luck though, as you’re stuck with the weapons each level starts you with until Llamazon drones randomly drop new ones into the field.
So, with its randomly generated levels, perks and weapons, Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse is a game full of uncertainty. The only things that remain constant are the fact that it’s full of llamas, violence and fun, which is no bad thing in my book. Though the game does have some aspects that are less than stellar.
There’s no online play, for instance, which means unless you’ve got some like-minded friends that are happy to come around and join you in your llama-killing pursuits, co-op is a no-no. Performance is also another issue. For the most part Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse looks nice and plays well, though there is the occasional hiccup which annoys. Ramp up the action with multiple players, however, and the framerate will drop. Thankfully there are options to turn off intensive graphical features such a shadows, enabling you to boost performance to your preferences.
Many will find Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse‘s lack of content to be its biggest weakpoint though. Depending on your skill level and ability to play in co-op, you could feasibly complete its campaign in only a few hours. But for most players it’s likely to take quite a while longer, and then there’s the additional harder difficulty to tackle and an endless mode. Whether it offers value for money I’ll leave you to decide, but I’ll just add that it features Xbox One X enhancements and is also an Xbox One/PC Play Anywhere title.
One thing is for sure though, you’ll have never played anything quite like Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse. It takes the visual style of Dead Nation, adds in the randomness of a roguelike, and injects a huge amount of humour. It’s not big, and it’s certainly not clever, but for the love of fluffy four-legged mammals is it fun. If you’ve got a bunch of silly friends that will revel in mowing down hordes of llamas just as much as you, seriously, you should check it out.