Today is a new day. The kind of day that makes you feel glad to be alive. The kind of day that makes you stop and wonder what you’ve been doing for the last 4 hours, the kind of day that makes you wonder what that midget was doing in your bathroom with the showerhead. I’m Frank Drebin…well…umm…actually I’m not and neither are you in The Naked Gun I.C.U.P, but you are the next best thing. Frank Drebin Junior.
Surely some people will feel that this has the air of a very bad movie sequel where there couldn’t get the original actors to appear – Leslie Nielson couldn’t appear for obvious reasons and don’t call me Shirley – but it actually works and works very well. Strangely both of the main supporting characters are here – Captain Ed, and Norberg – without any explanation as to how. We will assume that they are Captain Ed Junior and Norberg Junior too. They are joined by new characters Ellen (the love interest of Frank who actually has no interest whatsoever), Jimmy Weasel (the informant you go to for clues when you are stuck) and Bella (the I.C.U.P squads robot, yeah yeah don’t ask, this is the Naked Gun after all).
The game captures the silly but deadpan humour of the films and television series perfectly and you will find yourself giggling like a child at the schoolboy humour, and although the gameplay will not win any awards for innovation the comedy gets you through. A number of times I found wading through something laborious just so I could hear another pee joke.
Like many before it, The Naked Gun I.C.U.P opts for a cartoony animation style for its graphics. Again this isn’t ground breaking but has worked well in the past, works well now in all of the areas of the game, and I’m sure will work again many times in the future. The only drawback for each area looking as nice as it does on the iPhone is the loading times, where you can find yourself waiting up to 15 seconds for each area to load which could make the immersion a little bit shallower.
The quests are in the form of police cases which can be picked up in a number of ways – the main one being the huge pile of files on your desk that Frank has neglected recently – and can be both annoying and perfect depending on how you play your games. The main idea is you pick up a case and then have to either collect a single item or many items from somewhere in the nine areas and then the case is completed. If you sit down on your toilet and play in 5-10 minute bursts then the quests are just right and are the perfect length. However, if you are a sit down and play for 2-3 hours at a time kind of person then the same mechanic gets boring very quickly and you will be screaming for a puzzle – any sort of puzzle – just so you’re doing something different.
You receive “Bucks” for completing quests but in order for you to complete some quests you may need to bribe someone into giving you a key or letting you in a building, so how can you do this? Well, for the less patient amongst us there is the obvious micro transaction element where you can buy a set amount of Bucks for a nominal fee through the App Store. For those that like to earn all of their Bucks in-game the developers have included a Farmville style object clicking system where pretty much any object – desks, boxes, newspaper stands, etc – will result in you getting Bucks for clicking on them. There is also a collectable element as well for the OCD gamers and this also results in the reward of Bucks.
The controls are typical of Point and Click adventures; click somewhere in the area and Frank will move to that spot. Click on a character and icons will appear above their head for you to either look at them or speak to them. On an iPhone with fat fingers this can sometimes be a little tricky and you can find yourself clicking on a character or an object in the area when all you really want to do is walk past it.
Overall, a lack of originality and polish in the gameplay lets it down, as do the fiddly controls and lenghty loading times, but the impressive visuals and deadpan comedy is spot on. If you’re a fan of the Police Squad / Naked Gun series then you will wholeheartedly enjoy this game but if you are not then there are other point and click adventure games out there that offer a better package.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Platform: iOS Release Date: 30/05/2012
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of The Naked Gun I.C.U.P by the promoter for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of two days on an iPhone. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.