Somefling for Everybody
Even five years after its original release, Angry Birds remains one of the seminal mobile games that marked the true beginning of the touch screen era. Of course, this has made the series very polarizing, but it is doubtless that it attracted thousands to the crazy idea of playing games on their phones. It also attracted a number of imitators, but as far as gameplay formulas go, it’s a good one to imitate. Which brings us to Warhammer: Snotling Fling.
Warhammer: Snotling Fling is essentially 3D Angry Birds. Based on the popular “Warhammer” tabletop franchise, the game puts you in control of an Orc “Flinga,” a giant slingshot from which small orcs (snotlings) are fired at human encampments. The goal of each level is to kill all humans in the area, while causing as much damage as possible.
The 3D perspective does a surprisingly good job of varying the Angry Birds formula. You stand behind the slingshot, using a cogwheel to adjust the vertical angle of the device. Then, you drag the loaded snotling back toward you and release to fling him across the countryside. Admittedly, it can be difficult to judge whether you’re firing at the proper height, but levels are quick to finish and restart, and the physics simulation is fun to watch even when mistakes are made.
Power-ups, too, help with both aiming and enjoyably exaggerated physics displays. The cheapest power-up, bought using “Teef” earned in every level, gives you a visible arc to better judge your flings. More expensive power-ups include magical bombs that create powerful black holes, and better yet, the ability to summon a giant orc foot to come stomp the enemy’s buildings. Teef can also be bought for real money, which seems a bit crass after paying $4 for the game itself. Still, I earned so much just by playing that I never considered the possibility.
To further the Angry Birds comparison, there are multiple types of orcs: heavy orcs that break through stone, orcs that split to hit multiple targets, even orcs that can be detonated after firing. Each is introduced at a steady rate, along with strong building materials and explosive barrels, and with secret golden skulls to collect in every level, the campaign stays interesting throughout.
At every stage of its conception, Snotling Fling plays perfectly to the strengths of Warhammer’s orcs. Their cartoonish Cockney brightens up what would otherwise be useless level descriptions. The orcs themselves, while low-detail, are incredibly expressive and take every opportunity to make faces at you as you drag them towards the camera.
I’ve long been a distant admirer of the Warhammer franchise. I never had the funds or the friends to get into the tabletop game, but I was always impressed by the detailed miniatures and deep fiction. Games like this are a fantastic way to get new players into the Warhammer world. There will likely be those who find the orcs annoying, but even those people might find joy in flinging them to their destructive doom.