reviews\ Sep 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Mr. Bill review


I'm going to guess that the majority of iPhone users who would actually download and play a game app are too young to remember Mr. Bill, a Saturday Night Live-skit from the late 70's. Although Bill has seen his share of revivals over the decades (including an hour-long variety show alongside Mr. Bean and Subway commercials as recent as 2008), it's still an extremely odd choice to center an iPhone game around, especially one published by the same company behind Street Fighter, Mega Man, and Resident Evil.

Questionable creative anomalies aside, Mr. Bill is a pretty straightforward game where you shoot the titular clown out of a cannon at the beginning of each level and then attempt to safely navigate him to the goal some distance away. Bill has a stamina meter which allows him to flap his wings and stay afloat, but overusing it can lead to an abrupt nosedive, though hitting popcorn will refill the stamina bar and prevent you from having to try again.

There are a number of obstacles on the ground, some of which will help you--clowns on giant balls and circus seals will help propel Bill forward--and some which will lead to Bill's demise. Lions in particular seem to have tasted human flesh before and are out for more, but there are spikes and the like that will gruesomely dispatch the unfortunate hero if he (or you) make one wrong move.

There are 28 levels total, spread out across two areas (the circus and a farm), as well as endless modes for each area where you attempt to keep Bill alive for as long as possible with no finish line in sight. DLC in the form of "Mr. Bill vs. the Zombies" is already teased on the main menu, but I can't imagine that will somehow make this game any better.

The problem with games like Mr. Bill is that it's not necessarily a bad title, it's just that there are so many better ways iPhone users could be spending their time. Fly Kiwi Fly!, for example, has similar gameplay mechanics, but held my attention for considerably longer due to the power-ups and greater feeling of advancement. Results may vary as the user reviews on iTunes seem very positive, but for me, Mr. Bill should have retired 30 years ago.

Mr. Bill is available now for $0.99 on the iPhone and iPod Touch.


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