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Star Bores- Yuck Fu Reviewed

Yuck Fu for the iPhone. Developer: Dominic Szablewski, Publisher: Dominic Szablewski

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a Pavlovian response to the sound of the delivery truck. The amalgamation of an engine roar coupled with the squeal of brakes means one thing- a delivery of review code to Tech-Gaming headquarters. Recently, this signal has become increasingly replaced by a silent harbinger- the email notification. E-mail now alerts us that DLC is ready to be downloaded, circumventing the traditional delivery method.

Through this electronic process I became aware of the amusingly named iPhone diversion, Yuck Fu. Although hand-delivered review copies come with a press sheet, or at least box-art to give a context, iPhone apps are often coupled with little context. They recall a time when computer games were sold in zip-lock bags and accompanied with a typed instruction sheet. This was a wonderfully naïve era when game play ruled over marketing.

Yuck Fu harks back to this period, recalling the gameplay mechanics of the perennial classic, Snake. Players control Bo382, a solitary robot, who is required to grab a boundless set of fuel crates that materialize randomly on the screen. The fate of the humble machine likely mirrors our own proletarian experience- a life of unfulfilling labor punctuated by our inevitable demise. If Freidrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx collaborated on a game, the result likely wouldn’t be far from Yuck Fu, although the title would undoubtedly be less amusing.

Players control the working class android using the iPhone’s accelerometer, shifting the device to guide the protagonist like a two dimensional Super Monkey Ball. As the title is set in the isolation of space, feedback isn’t immediate. The player will constantly be correcting the robot’s trajectory as oversteering to capture a disappearing fuel crate is a requisite for advancement. If the player fails to grab a crate, the box becomes a lethal part of the game’s environment.

Tension in the game is maintained by the delicateness of Bo383- if he brushes the edge of the screen or a neglected crate, the game will end immediately. While this maintains a level of edginess in the player, having a single errant movement abruptly ending the game felt anticlimactic and cheap. We wished the developer had included an ‘energy’ system to allow for quick grazes with environmental obstacles. While the tutorial offered two interesting mechanics: a lack of screen borders, and the requirement of holding Bo383 steady, neither of these were offered in the main game.

While Yuck Fu’s robot and background are artistically modeled, there is a definite lack of depth to the game graphically. The sole variation to the backdrop was a hanger door that opened as gameplay persisted. While I thought that the airlock breach would jettison the threatening residual boxes (ala Alien), I witnessed no such behavior during the game. The game included three songs, that compliment the on-screen action accordingly.

Overall, Yuck Fu feels minimal; from its single, static game mechanic to its monotonous background graphic, and limited soundtrack. However, the app does show elements of promise- from an online high score table to a replay system. With a reasonable amount of work the app could transform into first-rate title. Much like the protagonist of the game, developer Dominic Szablewski has a lot of work in front of him.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

40 comments

  1. I didn’t understand about a quarter of the review, but it was an amusing read.

  2. I’ve heard they game got downloaded about a dozen times and pirated thousands. Sucks for developers.

    Thanks for the review BTW. Awesome as always, Deagle!

  3. I never did like that Snake game. I played it about hundred times on my cellphone as I could get any more games for it.

  4. I just got to say I got to play the game and it’s not too good. Very little change in it. Like the review seemed to say it felt unfinished.

  5. This games got Yucked the Fu up.

  6. Looks like Blast Chamber for the PS1

  7. If I wanted to read about Freidrich Nietzsche I’d go to class, instead I’m skipping class to play games.

  8. You suck, dream crushers. Why don’t you steal lollipops from 5 year old girls?

    😉

  9. The reviewer seems like a spoiled brat. He gets free games then complains that they are no good.

  10. I expected more puns.

    That the game was all yucked fup. That is was one of the worse yucking games on the iphone, etc.

  11. Well they could have lied said they liked it. Would that make you feel any better?

  12. MasterofLockPicking

    WTF? Doing a Marxian analysis on the gameplay? Brilliant. You should do a top ten list based on that idea.

  13. What the Shack Fu kind of game is this? 😛

  14. I sure as hell hope this is a free app.

  15. I think it’s Shaq Fu, dood!

  16. I think an option for touch control is in order.

  17. Nice death star explosion at least.

  18. Yeah, but when you do touch control, you fingers block whats on screen. It’s the great iphone limitation.

  19. LOL, great review. You are a crazy man Deagle!

  20. Huh?

    Are you saying the review was unfair or something?

  21. I got 17,860 on this. Top that suckers.

  22. Would would Marx and Nietzsche say about Mario?

  23. Well, thanks for the review, but in my defense I have to say that you really have to take the game for what it is.

    It’s an Arcade game, it’s about getting the Highscore, it’s about learning and becoming better at it. It’s NOT about the graphics, story or thousands of features and variations. You don’t blame Tetris for a lack of background graphics, do you?

    If you don’t like Arcade games in general though, that’s totally fine with me 🙂

  24. Sorry about I have to agree with the review; it’s just one very simple play type. I really wanted more.

  25. Maybe Tidegear or NOLA can give a 2nd opinion.

  26. Whew controversy! I think DE loves arcade games. We just talked about retro games on Xbox live not long ago.

  27. Few games arcade or otherwise are on the level of Tetris though…

    I mean it’s a good goal, but I don’t think I’ve played any iphone games that even come close.

  28. Ok, so the game seems minimal, but it is on the iphone, not a console.
    One can play this game in between their metro commute?
    But more than one level would be better!

  29. Is there a lite version to see what all the fuss is about?

  30. Seems like $2.99 is a bit expensive.

  31. Tetris has a strong risk/reward system. Should you go for the TETRIS, and wait for the long piece or build what you can? What do you do with the pieces that don’t fit?

    This game seems to have a VERY simple premise.

  32. Some good points.

  33. Downloaded it and feel a bit took. I have to agree the game needs more!

  34. comparing your game to Tetris is a dangerous thing

  35. I thought I was the only one to think that.

  36. Thanks for the review.

  37. I’ll save my $3 for something like Radio Flare.

  38. Sounds, well, yucky.

  39. From MSNBC: “After all, many of the App Store games are little more than sloppily made time-killers that are more frustrating than they are fun.”

    So true.