Texting of the Bread
ScrewAttack Entertainment LLC
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Requires iOS 2.1 or later.
Age Rating: 12+
$2.49 (iPad version available for $3.99)
I always knew gingerbread men were evil. Texting of the Bread, an iOS game by ScrewAttack and Controlled Chaos Media, proves me right, as it pits you against wave after wave of gingerbread zombies â€“ each determined to take down your red-haired avatar and the cow strapped to her back. As if that doesnâ€™t sound strange enough, itâ€™s a typing game.
Texting of the Bread takes its cue from The Typing of the Dead, a quirky arcade game from around ten years ago, which took the popular arcade game The House of the Dead 2 and replaced the light gun shooting mechanic with text input via keyboard. As with the Sega classic, your pen (or, more precisely, keyboard) is a substitute for the barrel of a gun. The potential profoundness of this metaphor is ignored, however, with the game focused entirely on the simple premise of defeating the gingerbread zombie hordes.
Those who (like me) prefer typing in portrait orientation will need to adapt to the landscape keyboard, but itâ€™s a relatively painless transition. Enemies are defeated as you type out the words displayed above their heads. The nearest enemy is automatically selected, but you can switch to a different one by tapping on them. This comes in handy at higher levels, where you need to deal with projectiles and gingerbread zombies of varying speed and strength. If things get too hectic (and your milk meter is full), you can shake the device to release a tidal wave of milk, drowning all gingerbread zombies before you.
Gingerbread zombies come in all shapes and sizes, apparently. Some are tiny, cartwheeling their way across the screen; others are gigantic, towering high above you. Some are thin and fast, while others are fat and slow. One type is even missing its legs, as it slowly drags itself towards you. But all die in a messy splattering of cookie pieces, which is especially entertaining when detail levels are turned up and particle effects turned on (donâ€™t do this on older hardware, lest you fall victim to significant slowdown and frequent crashes).
The game becomes more difficult over time, with the words increasing in length and complexity. Each wave is based on a theme. The early game is full of simple words and themes, such as everyday speech, farm animals, or rhymes. Later waves put out much more challenging words with ever more bizarre themes, such as the sounds zombies make, fables, leetspeak, or scientific disciplines.
Unfortunately, Texting of the Bread begins to feel stale and repetitive after extended play. There may be a great variety in the approach of gingerbread zombies, but the novelty of shooting cookies with milk eventually wears off. This is not helped by the largely unchanging environment. Your character quite literally stands at the left edge of the screen, never moving forward or back, while a factory remains always in the background at the right edge. Even the inventive progression of words and phrases loses its lustre in the latter stages.
This lack of variation keeps Texting of the Bread from matching the charm and addictiveness of its spiritual predecessor, which layered the quirky typing mechanic on top of an equally quirky arcade shooter. The limitations of the hardware surely prevent anything of the scale of The Typing of the Dead, but I canâ€™t help feeling the developers could have done more with the concept.
The current release offers three main game modes: Arcade, Survival, and Free Play. Arcade mode has a silly story about a mad scientist trying to take over the world with an army of gingerbread zombies, while Survival mode is simply a test of how long you can hold off the hordes, and Free Play lets you play from any wave to the end (with score, health, and lives reset for each wave). Two additional modes can be unlocked during play. There is Game Center integration, around 70 clever and amusing achievements, and an update coming soon with the promise of new content.
Texting of the Bread simply rests too heavily on its charm and quirkiness. It’s an enjoyable game with an original concept, a great sense of humour, and a usefulness that goes beyond the game itself. But its lack of variety hurts it in the end. Fighting hordes of zombified gingerbread men may be fun at first, but eventually it gets old. I’d still recommend this game to anyone who can appreciate a twisted sense of humour and clever premise, despite a somewhat lacking implementation.
If nothing else, you will get very good at typing on your iPhone.Texting of the Bread,