Overview

If you’re a fan of Angry Birds, but want a less cute theme, then Trucks and Skulls might be right up your alley. You launch monster trucks at various structures to try to destroy all the skulls in this physics puzzler. The game theme is similar to No Fear with some huge explosions and heavy metal.

There is an iPad and iPhone version, and currently only the iPad version is out. The iPhone version release is imminent, and just pending Apple’s approval which is at most a couple days away.

Features

There are special trucks that have special abilities with a tap including ones that have a speed burst, power flip, drop bombs, explode, and nose dive. There are 128 levels across three episodes in Hell’s Highway, The Haunted Wasteland, and Industrial Armageddon. The game includes Game Center for online high scores and achievements, and oh yeah did I mention explosions and lava?

The Good

The theme is simply outstanding, and it really makes the game stand out in the crowded physics puzzle genre. The game adds prototypical bad ass elements in a very light hearted way with great cartoon artwork. Rather than seeing the cute angry birds and popping pigs you get to see heavy duty monster trucks and evil skulls.

The game is super easy to pick up and start enjoying as you just pull back on the launching ramp, aim, and fire. Your goal is to break through the various structures to destroy all the skulls in a particular level. On the surface the game seems just like Angry Birds which isn’t a bad thing, but there are a lot of subtleties to make it great fun in its own right.

The main factor is that there is true complete devastation of a level when you get done with it. Some levels are loaded with TNT that makes massive explosions while others have lava pits where you try to knock every piece into the pits. Unlike Angry Birds you get a big bonus for clearing every single piece in a level so there is a new goal to shoot for.

Once you start playing it’s very hard to put back down, and you won’t feel like you’ve completed a level until you get four bolts. Rather than three star each level is scored on a four bolt scale, and you can see your progress live in level. In Angry Birds you never know what score you need for three stars, but in Trucks and Skulls as your score racks up so does you’re standing on how many bolts you’ve scored.

Every level is designed to allow for a different truck type to be the most successful, and there are a lot of truck types. There are also different skull types with some taking a lot more damage to finally destroy. When you’re launching your trucks you can enhance the power of your shot with the green meter below the ramp rather than just pull all the way back, and letting go.

In most levels there is a way to launch one truck, and destroy everything, and there is just so much action once you launch that truck. A tap engages the special abilities which offer great animations for each of the different trucks on top of the finely detailed cartoon artwork. The explosions seem to rattle the screen, and each skull you destroy has a soul seemingly rip out of it in a flash of color the entire height of the screen.

Most levels have blocks that can’t be broken through that will really test your strategy, and there are quite a few with a lot of rubberized blocks. The sound effects and soundtrack fit right in line with the theme all the way to the gravelly voice of each truck before they launch and a guitar rift when competing a level.

There are 128 levels at launch which is a huge load, and closely matches Angry Birds after all their updates. The inclusion of Game Center and the bolt collecting will have you replaying levels adding a lot of replay value. If that wasn’t enough the iPad version includes a level editor to make and share your own levels, and it’s a very easy to use interface.

The Bad

The game is far from unique, and is very similar to Angry Birds which may be a turn off for some. You have birds that split into three, speed up, explode, and drop bombs, but it’s the differences, though minor, when taken as a whole really allow this game to stand on its own. The game is relatively easy to get four bolts on a level if you have experience with Angry Birds.

There is still the problem that you have to zoom out to see the whole level on the iPad version. Also you can’t advance to the next level until you beat the previous though getting completely stuck is tough to do in this game. Though that game is simple in the beginning the animations and theme will keep you chuckling as you play, and gets much tougher in the later episodes.

The Verdict

Trucks and Skulls is a great game right out of the gate with a hilarious and enjoyable theme coupled with excellent gameplay. The game is packed with content, and is extremely engaging to keep you playing. The little additions to improve upon the Angry Birds formula as well as the great artwork, and level variability make this game stand on its own.

Trucks and Skulls is a must buy for iPad or iPhone, and isn’t the most unique, but it’s an excellent game in its own right.