Review: Blood and Bacon

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I tend to be harder on score attack and arcadey games because bigger numbers aren’t much of a motivator for me. I need a story to work through or things to unlock to keep me involved, so if all I’m getting is my name creeping up a scoreboard or the privilege of experiencing another slightly harder level, I’m out. That’s why I’ve been so surprised by Blood and Bacon, because for as simple as it is gunning down waves of evil piggies, I feel the need to keep on blazing away. It might be how fun the shooting is, it might be the loads of little secrets stuffed into it, or it might be how fully it embraces just how dumb it all is.

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There’s no up-front explanation for why you’re on a ruined farm, why the pigs are rampaging, or why the farmer is pinned up on the barn wall with a pitchfork. Despite his predicament he’s perfectly content to order you out every day to mow down any pigs you find, occasionally supplying you with new guns or horrible, horrible jokes. Unless you’ve invited friends to blast pigs with you he’ll be the only human you see on the farm too, which should tell you right away where the emphasis is on this one. Still, the more waves you get through the more advice and secrets he’ll drop on you, hinting at the nature or locations of some of the little easter eggs around the farm.

You’ll find weapons on the walls of the barn, primaries like AKs and shotguns on one side and secondaries like revolvers and paintball guns on the other. Once you’re armed and you’ve spoken with the farmer you’re loosed on the field, which will be occupied by dozens upon dozens of pigs. All you have to do is end their simple lives, and in response they will charge you and try to chew you to death. Aside from your guns you can melee pigs to kill or stun them, or chuck grenades earned from the grinder by pushing dead porkers into the whirling blades. Unlike zombies or humans the weak points of pigs are obviously in their butts, so shooting them from behind makes them explode whereas doming them just makes their heads come off and their bodies even angrier.

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There’s a tiny bit of strategy to be found here, such as stunning armored pigs and circling around to their posteriors for the kill, but mostly you’re going to be shooting until you run out of things to shoot. Every tenth day you’ll face a boss, usually one that you can only chip away at until you discover their weak point. Some can be very complex in their gimmicks, such as the giant princess pig you have to shoot in the butt until it explodes, then shoot her exposed colon until she starts jumping up in the air so you can shoot her heart from below. They can also be kind of gross, as you might have picked up. Blood and Bacon is big on spectacle, so get ready for fields full of blood, paint, chunked pork, and various other fluids.

For any other horde shooter, this would be enough to hold my attention for about fifteen minutes. But this one goes the extra mile by both spacing out new weapons and items and also dotting the farm with plenty of secrets to turn up. There are only about a dozen guns in the game but they unlock every couple of waves, which is a great way to keep you going if you see the silhouette of an uzi or P90 is next up. Similarly, items at the grinder unlock every ten levels or so, and it’s always a little adventure to load enough meat into the nasty thing to buy what you want. As you’re running about you’ll also see keys in odd places that unlock new hats, crests that can be shot for easter eggs, and other little tasks you can do for a laugh.

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Sometimes I want mindless action to tide me over between more involved games, and Blood and Bacon is just that. I can run around and explode pigs to my heart’s content, and I can even search out some secrets while I do it. This one’s perfectly good solo as well, but you can also drag up to five of your friends into the slaughter too. It’s not much of a looker and while the weapon sound effects are impressive, they’re approaching potato recording quality. Still, what do you expect from a game about shooting pigs in the ass? I expect loads of goofy action, and I definitely got it.

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