Review: Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack!

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Okay, I will admit, I did not expect a Serious Sam spin-off like this. Top-down shooter? Natural fit. Platformer? Easy peasy. But an infinite runner? And you don’t even play as Sam? Now that’s unexpected, and after screaming and exploding my way through it, I can say it’s not unwelcome, either. Kamikaze Attack makes the most of its unusual premise, and offers you enough ways to run around and blow things up to keep you occupied for a few hours. It’s mostly the goofy style and the high-speed action that sell this one, and I’m here to tell you that both are extremely solid for what you’re getting here.

The exploding cat’s already out of the bag; you don’t play as our boy Sam in this one, you play as a headless kamikaze! Each of the 40 levels has you chasing after Sam, dodging or kicking obstacles and ordnance on your way to give him a nice, big, incendiary hug. Your double jump is the most obvious way to avoid danger but you can also kick, and continue to kick as you hold the button, which destroys or knocks away stuff in your path. This will very quickly build a rage meter though, and if it maxes out, you explode in a shower of untamed fury and meat. The gameplay, then, is balancing out kicking and dodging to survive the level and hopefully complete the bonus objective, which is usually smashing barriers or juggling bombs or the like.

Infinite runners live and die on their controls, and the two-button system in Kamikaze Attack is more than up to the challenge. Kicking resets your double jump, so you have a ridiculous amount of freedom to sail through the air on your way to explode Serious Sam. This translates into some awesome combo potential when you can chain kick a dozen missiles away or keep four bombs going from the start of the level to the end. It’s also a very loose game in terms of challenge. You have multiple lives to get through each short stage, and any time you lose one, a random 1-up pickup will almost surely appear ahead. I didn’t have to retry a single level to beat it, and in the endless mode, I almost had to try to die after approaching a million points banked. I don’t know if the difficulty scales so gradually that I didn’t notice, or if there’s just no difficulty scaling at all, but this is not a game you’re ever bound to get frustrated with.

You can pick some different heads for your headless kamikaze (sacrilege, I know), and they confer different bonuses that can help you manage your rage or speed, but I never really bothered with them. The 40 stages spread across two areas were fine as they were, getting longer and more complex with their obstacles as I went. It’s almost a shame that slowing down is considered a bonus or power-up, because you can get up to absolutely absurd speeds and that’s when the game is the most fun. Again, this isn’t going to be a huge diversion or time sink for anyone, Serious Sam fans included, but it has just the right amount of charm and the right balance of challenge and chaos to entertain for as long as you want to explode people.

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