Funky Smugglers (universal) by 11 bit studios is an arcade game that brings together two very unlikely partners: 1970s funk and modern airport security. It’s going to take some impressive swiping skills to keep this airport safe, however: everyone from grandma to the kids on spring break have something to hide.
In Funky Smugglers, players are in charge of the x-ray machine at the local airport. Every person walks through on their way to their plane, and you can bet everyone is trying to sneak something in. Not everything is bad: grandma might just have an apple or book hidden under her Sunday best, in which case she can carry on her way untouched. But most people will try and bring something illegal – marked in red on their skeletal image in the game – and that’s where players step in.
Removing scissors, grenades, and other dangerous materials is done with a simple touch and drag on the screen, either with one finger or multiple. The goal is to remove all the red objects by pulling them of the screen – while ignoring the green ones – racking up combos and a high score while progressing through increasingly difficult boarding groups. Things will get hairy quickly, trying to swipe wildly with both hands, collecting power-ups as the boarding groups get longer and move through the machine quicker.
Like many casual App Store games, Funky Smugglers adds a lot of its replay incentive through its monetary system and storefront. Each run and completed mission awards coins, which are used to buy everything from skins to power-up upgrades. Without any other modes or gameplay options to play, it does leave the game feeling a bit empty on the replay side at times. Sure, the single game mode included is fun, but is definitely suited to playing in short bursts, without a ton of variety to offer in the way of unique objectives or visual design.
Technically, Smugglers multi-touch mechanics work terrific: I never found myself having to repeat a swipe, even when trying to grab two objects in the same vicinity with different fingers. I do think the game plays a bit better on the more open space of the iPad, letting the charm of the character animations and silly visual touches shine on the bigger screen. Plus, gameplay is essentially on a screen inside a screen, so a bigger playing field can make all the difference in later waves.
With addictive gameplay and a whole lot of 1970s flair and personality, Funky Smugglers is another strong addition to the iOS arcade library, an absolute must-buy for any gamer looking for some high-speed swiping action on their iPhone or iPad.