Naughty Boy‘s idea of fun is elusive, ethereal. It’s simple, but repetitive. The goal of the game is to destroy the objects in a variety of environments, warding off your family members who try to thwart your dastardly foray into destructive psychopathy. Enemies spawn in the form of grandma, dad, sis, bro, mom, all of these kinds who jaunt over to you like zombies, whereupon you’ll need to hit them with your trusty slingshot.
As you progress, you get money in the form of candy, leading to more powerful and more destructive ammunition. The game is a first person shooter where you charge up your firing power by holding the sling back and letting it go. The stronger the mob, the longer you’re required to hold down the sling.
That’s it. Seriously, that’s it. Grant, there’s other ammunition and they all do slightly different things, but the heart of Naughty Boy is this simplistic mechanic that utilizes nearly no noticeable physics, puzzle system, or energy. Heliceum’s game is one that takes only a single part of a video game and stretches it out to cover the rest, that single component isn’t even that good.
At its heart, Naughty Boy is not a good game. It’s not a fun, addictive, or exciting game. It’s crisp, colourful, and tries to be excitable and quirky, but falls flat when you realize that you’re a preteen marauding your relatives with homemade bombs and billiard balls with no reason or motivation. What am I supposed to be doing? What’s my end goal? Destroying more furniture? Perhaps there is a final mission, but the game doesn’t make it clear enough for me to notice or compelling enough for me to care.
Additionally, it builds up the candy currency system like some super critical component, but the most important part of the game requires in-app purchases: when you’re caught, you’re required to consume batteries to escape. When you run out, you have to purchase more using real money. No gyroscope. No accelerometer. No shake-the-iPad-like-a-normal-game mechanic. Buy the escape button.
Even after the in-app purchases, the boring and repetitive gameplay, and the jarring dissonance the game so eagerly pushes, there’s the biggest one: stability issues. I’ve had immense stability problem moving from level to level, sometimes involving me getting booted from the program on my iPad. I don’t know if this is a hardware issue or if this is something with how the game is programmed, but I’ve played games of comparable graphical performance and I’ve had no issues.
In short, Naughty Boy is just boring. It’s droll, trite, and the endless wave of relatives only gives you the need to pause and think about what exactly this kid is doing. Additionally, I have major issues with a game that so eagerly wishes to have you purchase lives. There’s no direction or end goal – just a stream of destruction followed by more destruction, and even then that destruction is so bland and tedious at times that you wonder why you’re even playing it.