An odd little Flash game for computers, Homerun in Berzerk Land features you playing as various characters and getting the chance to smack a geek off the edge of cliff to see just how far you can get him to travel. It goes well beyond that however, the geek doesn't just get smacked with a flyswatter, baseball bat, sausage, sword, or whatever else you buy in the shop (we'll get to that later), there are also various creatures and items on the ground that can propel the geek to new heights as well. It's an oddly good time in the Penguin Smack tradition (something the developers acknowledge).
Of course, as all iPhone owners are well aware, our precious little phone doesn't support Flash (don't get me started on that). No worries though, Berzerk Studio has now released Berzerk Ball, a mobile iOS version of Homerun in Berzerk Land with the same cartoony graphics and fun. Even better than that, the game is just as fun as the computer version if not more so (because now you can bash the geek wherever you go).
In case I have been unclear, this isn't one of those games that requires hours of your time and brain power – there is no story, there are no traps, there is no deadly evil; there is only your character (you get your pick of several) and a geek to be bashed as far as you possibly can. The controls too are quite simple. At the start of each turn you tap the screen once to determine the angle at which you will bash the geek and tap screen again to determine the power with which you will bash the geek. At that point, the geek gets bashed. As he flies through the air, Berzerk Ball keeps track of his height and the distance from the starting line, with the goal being to simply hit him as far as you can.
The more times you play and the further you hit the geek, the more money you earn and the more experience you gain. Gain enough experience and you level up, allowing you to increase your basher's stats in one of three categories worries though, Berzerk Studio has now released Berzerk Ball– strength, the speed at which the altitude/strength meters move (slower being easier to get the best bash), and the number of creatures on the ground that will help you keep the geek going. Money can be used to buy better weapons with which to bash the geek and various items that will increase your stats. There are also various achievements within the game (hit a certain altitude, get a certain distance, level up a certain amount, etc.) that unlock other items and weapons. The items and weapons unlocked by getting the achievements carry over from one character to the next while things that are purchased in the store do not.
Berzerk Ball is one of those easy concepts that has had a ton of replay value added to it by virtue of the multitude of unlockables, characters, and achievements. Additionally, within the game, you can send ideas for geek phrases (the geek is a big talker via word bubbles) to Berzerk Studios for possible inclusion down the line.
Yes, it is true that after a while it does get a little tiring to keep on bashing the geek, particularly when you end up with a massive bash that sends him nearly a worries though, Berzerk Studio has now released Berzerk Ball 1,000,000 feet (it requires luck, skill, and a whole lot of time). It is also somewhat disappointing that the game actually states that you've finished once all the characters are have been unlocked even if you haven't gotten all the various achievements – if there really is no point to the game other than bashing the geek, why should it ever be declared finished? Can't geeks be bashed infinitely?
In the end, the game is fun – a stupid sort of fun, but unquestionably fun. There will certainly be folks who, upon hearing the concept, decry it as the end of Western Civilization and a harbinger of doom. Rather than attempting to bash such folks yourself (violence is wrong), sit them down with the game and see if they don't enjoy themselves just a little. They will, it's a fun game.
Berzerk Ball has no rating but features cartoon violence. It is also available on PC and Mac.
Article first published as iPhone Game Review: Berzerk Ball on Blogcritics.