I have to admit to being one of the very few people who didn’t care for Angry Birds when it came out during the early days of the iPhone and iPad. I just never got the pigs, eggs, and shaky-structure thing. But blowing up zombies with hand grenades? Bring it on. The developers of the original Fragger game have recently released the sequel we’ve been waiting for: Fragger 2, with three new worlds and 90 new levels. It’s another winning casual game to fill in shorter holes in your schedule.
For the uninitiated, in Fragger you play a lone hand-grenade wielding soldier. Your job is to lob your supply of grenades, one at a time, at a number of zombies. You control your throw’s trajectory and force by drawing on the screen with your finger. A helpful guide shows the course of the grenade; the length of the guide shows the force with which you throw. Especially in the higher levels, you need to use finesse to throw hard enough to hit your target, but not so hard you over-throw. The grenade explodes when it comes to a rest wherever you have thrown it (not on impact).
As you would expect, the level of difficulty grows with each succeeding level. The early levels are for learning, and are almost too simplistic, but teach you well the basics of arc and force. These easy levels will make sure that even those not familiar with these Angry-Birds kinds of physics games aren’t discouraged or quit early on. As you progress through the levels, the number of zombies increases and the placement of the zombies makes your job harder and harder. Sometimes they’re dug deep into tunnels, sometimes perched on overlooking towers. You need to use just the right throw to place your grenade next to the tower-based zombies to make sure it sticks and doesn’t bounce off. Many times there are intricate obstacles in the levels that will help you or thwart you, based on your throwing skills. For example, there may be a wooden door half-way down a tunnel that needs to be left intact to reach the first zombie, but blown up to reach a second. If you blow it up too soon, you miss the chance to ever reach the first zombie, and suffer the ignoble “you lose!” screen.
The controls for Fragger 2 couldn’t be simpler: you draw trajectory and force with your finger on the screen. Once you take your finger off the screen, your grenade launches. You get a variable number of grenades per level, depending on the difficulty of the zombie entrenchment. The graphics are attractive arcade quality, and the explosions are more Wiley Coyote than Call of Duty: you can even let your little brother or sister have a turn and they won’t be traumatized. For my skill level and frustration tolerance, Fragger 2 strikes the perfect balance between being too easy and boring you quickly, or being too hard and becoming more frustrating than fun. Here is an iTunes link to Fragger 2: it’s $1.99 in the app store and worth it, with no in-app purchase ads to distract from endless game play.