If you're ever stuck at home and want something to do, type "Retro" in the app store and scroll to the 257th app and you might find this little gem: Static Quest: The Delivery by Cookiebit S.L.
Before we discuss the actual gameplay, let's go over what you'd think the gameplay would be. There's a bunch of things going on here, right away we look at the title: STATIC QUEST: THE DELIVERY. Already you're thinking, "Deliveries, Quests, Static Electricity, this game's going to be epic!"... Yes, static electricity. I mean, just look at the app icon!
My assumption right away is that there's some kind of journey taking place... Well, I wouldn't call it a journey exactly. I wouldn't even really call it a quest. No, the game should have been called Static Stay: The Stationary. Apparently I misinterpreted the word Static, it had nothing to do with electricity and everything to do with being completely immobile. The plot of this game is that you're the most hardcore UPS Delivery Man on the planet and while on your way to deliver a package to the creepiest house on the planet, you crash your vehicle and must fight off monsters in the woods to deliver the mail. This man loves his job. I don't care if I'm delivering the cure for cancer, if I see monsters in my path you can kiss the Jimmy Fund good bye... Too bad, I'd miss those 99 cent Frosty coupons from Wendy's for donating.
So here's the rules of Static Quest. Your character is completely stationary in the middle of the screen and hoards of monsters are honing in on you in waves. You must fend off these monsters using weapons of the Melee, Projectile and Magic class. You start out with your fists, but as you get more money from killing monsters, you can upgrade your character to have all kinds of weapons ranging from daggers, to boomerangs to flamethrowers, etc... Where this magical store in the middle of the monster-infested forest is is beyond me. In addition to upgrading your weapons, you can also upgrade your skills (e.g. Strength, Dexterity, Defense, Life, Magic). Each weapon brings with it a different costume for our hero, and I have to say I was really impressed with the choices made for these. There's Wolverine, Thor, Link, Robin Hood... Mc-freaking-Cleod!
In any case, once you get past the fact that this game isn't so much an RPG as it is a Tower Defense sort of game, you can start to enjoy the simplicity of its gameplay. The controls are ridiculously simple, tap the left side of the screen to attack left, and tap the right side of the screen to attack right. Tapping higher or lower on the screen will cause your projectiles to go higher or lower. You have icons in the lower left portion of your screen which represent the weapons you have available to you. You tap the one you want to switch to that weapon. When you kill monsters, you get cash which you use to purchase new weapons and upgrade them. I love simplicity and this game nails it.
That's not to say there isn't some strategy going on here. You have a limited amount of uses for each weapon before you are forced to resort to your fists. And I should make it clear that if you're using your fists, you're about to die. There's nothing you can do. Maybe you get some kind of "heal" power, but unless you've got some kind of "give me all my ammo back" power, you're a dead man walking... er, standing. Static, remember? Honestly, I don't know what magic abilities are available to you, I could never use them more than once or twice a game because they never really got the job done as well as a good old fashioned arrow to the face, or a sword to the... face. There's a good chance the magic abilities get better as you upgrade them, but I don't have the patience to get there. I'd rather spend that money and upgrade the weapons which have already proven to be efficient.
Let's discuss the upgrade system though, shall we? Upgrading your stuff is obviously awesome; you get stronger and stronger and before long the enemies that used to bend you over the table are suddenly kneeling before Zod! But there's one upgrade which the game subtly plasters on the skills screen that is nothing more than a wolf in sheep's clothing. It's called "ENEMIES" and if you click it out of curiosity, you'll be very upset. It makes the enemies HARDER. The truth is, if you're on this screen in the first place it's because odds are, you died a horrible death at the hands of a merciless enemy hoard. There's also a good chance that you were no where NEAR completing the game, so why in God's name would you EVER want to make your enemies more difficult?! It's insanity! But the game slaps it on that screen like candy-wrapped razors on Halloween!
But you know what's even worse about this button? The enemies get harder regardless! As you upgrade your skills and weapons, your character becomes a force to be reckoned with, but just as you're about to get on your high horse and take those monsters to the tool shed, you realize something, they're different colors now... And they're not going down as easy as they used to... And they're attacks are making your high horse look like a brain-dead donkey. That's when it hits you... Your enemies have upgraded as well. And remember how you made it 70% of the way to victory that last run? Yeah, get ready to go back to 40%. But hey, no problem, right? I'll just slaughter these new enemies, get more money, upgrade myself again and come back and inflict righteous vengeance!!! Oh crap, they did it again.
It's at this moment that you realize you're not going to beat this game by chugging a Red Bull and staying up all night. You probably won't beat this game after a week of nonstop gameplay. I've been playing this game for a month and I only made it to 70% ONCE (I should again point out that your character is STATIONARY yet somehow is being shown as making it a varying distance along a path at the end of each run... WTF!).
I'm all for a challenge, but I'm also all for beating a game and moving on. The sad truth is, I'm never going to beat this game and there isn't enough going on to make me feel any urge to put the time into beating it. See, if this game were an actual "endless" defense game with an emphasis on High Scores rather than an RPG with an end goal, then I'd be more inclined to keep playing. It'd be a fun bathroom break time killer. But it's just a lot of grinding with no sense of accomplishment, and it teases you with the illusion of a finish line. It's like a horse chasing a carrot on a stick.
I like to get frustrated at a game for being challenging, and then gloat when I finally beat it. It's like eating a bag of really salty chips and then drinking a big cold glass of water when I'm finished. 100% satisfying. But this game is like eating peanut butter and saltines and washing it down with... More peanut butter.
But don't get me wrong, I love peanut butter. And this game is definitely fun... for a while. It hits my sweet spots where it counts: Retro Graphics, eerie midi soundtrack, addicting gameplay and tons of nerdy homages. If you ask me, it shouldn't be buried under 200 other retro games (most of which suck). That could be due to the fact this game has been out since 2012, or it could just be due to a saturated retro gaming market. Whatever the case, I think it deserves more recognition then it has. Sure it has its flaws like a deceitful illusion of progress, misleading title, monotonous replay, etc... But it has a lot of charm and it's a lot better than most of the games in the Top 10 lists. It's simple, grinding fun and for a buck in the app store, it's not gonna kill you to give it a try. Which is why I'm awarding it a rating of "One Dollar Holler".