Celebrities mark the center of attention for many people. For better or for worse, such requires a bit of protection from time to time, and thus comes the role of Celebrity Bodyguard for both the iPhone and iPad devices. Created by European developer Bravo Game Studios (which has no apparent relation to the cable channel), this side-scrolling iOS shooter shows that if something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.
Utilizing simple tap controls, Celebrity Bodyguard is over-the-top in terms of its premise; namely in how the avatar goes about protecting his client with extreme force. The $0.99 app, while absurdly amusing for a short while, tends to get a rather repetitive after a short time.
Players take on the role of a celebrity bodyguard whose toughness is measured only by the scale of his chin and depth of his frown. The task is to protect up to three satirized celebrities — Rustin Beaver, Lady Blabla, or Robér Parksòn — as they walk the red carpet. The only catch is that this walk of fame is infinite and users must attempt to last as long as possible against hordes of unruly characters.
In the game, players and their celebrity client automatically walk down the red carpet as a slew of bizarre characters attempt to stress the celebrity to death. From snipers to ninjas, or drunkards to paparazzi, each one has a unique way of causing stress and the player must shoot them down, using a tap, before they get the chance to do so. Snipers for example cause it by simply having the celebrity in their laser sights, while paparazzi induces it by taking photographs. Should the stress get too high, the player will fail. Luckily, it will lower automatically should no stress be incurred for a while.
Each type of enemy comes with it’s own unique mechanics too. In some cases, such as the snipers, they will randomly appear within the windows of background buildings, while ninjas will leap out of the crowd and can only be killed when they are within range of a good right hook from the bodyguard (yes, players can punch enemies into orbit).
While the ninja is a good example of an enemy that can usually only be hit with a melee, they’re not immune to all bullets. As the user progresses, they will periodically come across shotguns and machine guns holding a limited ammunition supply. With one hosting a wide ballistic spread and the other faster firing, the usefulness is obvious, but short lived. The only weapon with infinite ammunition is the standard silenced pistol that users start with, and even this must be reloaded periodically.
The other weapon in the user’s arsenal is the celebrity themselves. Passively, they will charge up a super ability that is basically a supersonic wail, of some sort, that eliminates all targets on the screen. Unfortunately, other than a slightly different visual, it is the exact same thing for all three celebrity characters.
That is really the biggest complaint to be had with Celebrity Bodyguard. It is amusing at first, but it becomes clear at a very early point that other than the endless stream of enemies, there is nothing else. There are no new levels, no more celebrities other than the three mentioned (and they don’t do anything different), and the level itself is always the same. In the past, we have looked at other games that are of an equally repetitive game premise — Ninjatown: Trees of Doom — but in such games, the level always dynamically changed. It was never the same twice. With Celebrity Bodyguard, players walk down the same flat strip of red carpet with the same exact difficulty curve (at about the same point, every time the player plays, the amount of enemies that will appear is predictable). The only aspect that does change is where enemies will spawn and of what type.
Some of the longevity of the game is recovered by the title’s Game Center integration. Since the player racks up points for each kill, and more for not letting the celebrity incur stress, the game hosts both leaderboards and achievements, with the latter hosting a respectable amount. Additionally, players can share their in-game accomplishments via their contacts on their iPhone, Facebook, or Twitter.
On another positive note, the game also has a nice comedic style to it. Not only are the characters and animations quirky looking, but the bodyguard comes with a small selection of funny one-liners.
In the end, Celebrity Bodyguard is an amusing game, but one that truly needs a bit more variety. All the celebrities are basically the same, and the level is always the same, straightforward space. The enemies are amusing, and it can be gratifying to shoot them up with their comedic animations, but it does get old a bit quickly. Overall, Celebrity Bodyguard is a decent application for both the iPhone and iPad devices, but doesn’t truly bring anything special to the table.