Latest Game Reviews

Dung Review - PC

5
Gameplay: 6 stars 6
Graphics: 6 stars 6
Audio: 6 stars 6
Innovation: 3 stars 3
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In 2007, Telstra Bigpond ran a competition in conjunction with the Australia Centre of Moving Image (ACMI) called Project Joystick. This was to try and find the most innovative Australian smaller game ideas from the public. The winner was Sherele Moody from Victoria, who came up with the concept for Dung. Bigpond, and Melbourne developer Firemint have worked the concept to completion, and the game is now available for purchase from Bigpond's game website for either PC ($10) or Telstra's NextG mobile phones ($5).

Gameplay

The basic premise that the Dudley the Dung Beetle is kindly minding his own business, when attacked by the dastardly Scarabas Stinkstrong. He steals precious baby Dunglings, and off Dudley must go to rescue them.

Dung takes place on a basic 2D board, where rows of small icons float above him. The goal is to bump out a number of baby Dunglings that are placed on the board by hurling a rolled up pile of dung (or ball) upwards. This can bounce off further objects such as twigs, leafs, and mushrooms for points, or bounce back to the ground to be picked up again. If "directionals" (arrows) or "trajectos" (selectable direction) are hit, the dung can be aimed towards other columns in the air. To make things tricky, nasties such as spiders, scorpions, snakes, and bats are placed amongst the goodies, which need to be avoided. If they are hit they end up taking your dung, and Dudley only has 3 dung balls to use on each level before game over. There are also a few extras to mix the basic premise up, such as a springboard to shoot it up a further few rows, a multi-ball, which can split your dung into two bouncing balls, and a beehive, to take out objects around it.

There is 3 basic modes in the game – the storyline, which take place across different background environments (desert, forest, etc) strung together with a basic storyline thrown in between levels as Dudley saves the day. There is a "Quick game", which is just a single random game for the highest score, and there is the "Challenge" match. Goals in Challenge mode may be to hit 5 of the same items in a row, 3 of the same, and things such as this, with varying levels of difficulty available. For players that can stick at it, there is a fair amount of game-time to be had, with some 22 story-based levels, and 42 Challenge levels.

For the more competitive, like the old days, players can record their high scores, and attempt to score maximum points in each of the levels. This can allow families or friends to score off against each other.

Dung will mainly appeal to players who want a casual gaming fix now and then, however we found the game a little dull to play for any long stretches, without too much of the addictiveness that has defined some of the great mini-games in the past. The levels really are just the same rectangle ...

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