Funky Smugglers is a highly original and brilliantly fun arcade-style game where you have to remove contraband items from boarding passengers… all to a funk-infused soundtrack. The game includes a solo mode, but also an online collaborative mode where your score contributes towards a team total. The graphics are sublime, the music is brilliant — everyone needs more funk in their lives! — and the gameplay is simple yet challenging. Following is a closer and detailed look.
In Funky Smugglers you view an airport Xray machine as incoming passengers board a flight. The travelers pass through the machine carrying both red and green items which show up on the screen. You need to touch and hold on the red contraband items and flick them off screen. You can keep pressing and collect further red items for a multiple-items bonus.
If an item passes through the screen without being removed, you lose a life. You also lose a life if you touch one of the green items, either directly or if you hit one while holding a red item. Gameplay is split into different levels/flights so you get a breather in between groups of passengers. Additionally, there are a number of bonus items you can collect which are dropped off by a helicopter now and again. These include things like speed up, slow down and a magnet which attracts the red items.
The essential aim of the game is to progress as far as you can and accumulate the highest score possible. However, you can also involve yourself in online team battles where your score contributes to a team’s overall achievement, so the team with the highest combined points tally wins. This adds a nice dimension to the game and, while there’s no direct competition per se, it’s fun nonetheless.
Funky Smugglers features some excellent graphics. Bold, colourful and incredibly vibrant, the images leap off the screen and are wonderfully viscereal. The transitions and in-game animations are absolutely top draw, meaning it really does feel like a premium game. I love the way characters stroll though the Xray machine and while the main game only comes with four different types, you can purchase more in the in-app store.
Play that Funky Music…
The soundtrack is a tailored funk music number that’s pure cool. I find myself quite easily tapping my feet along with the music as I play the game. There are also additional tracks you can purchase in the in-app store to add to the variety. The game further includes a slew of neat sound effects that compliment the gameplay perfectly. Like the graphics, the game has a very polished feel and the sound ticks all the boxes you might expect.
Not So Cool
Funky Smugglers is a game you pay for, but still features a range of in-app purchases to compliment it. These include bonuses and a variety of aesthetic features such as new items, backgrounds, characters and music. While they are not essential, I always find it a little unfriendly to have to pay for a game more than once.
It seems that the developers of Funky Smugglers want you to pay for the game, they then also employ a freemium model to extract more cash. This just leaves a sour taste that isn’t easy to put behind. In my opinion, it should be either freemium or paid, not both. Of course, we can make the argument that you can earn these coins as you play, but it will take you quite a while to build up enough money for even the cheaper items.
One additional downer is that gameplay can feel a little repetitive after a while. There is the multiplayer mode, in addition to the opportunity to increase your XP levels, which each offer an element of variety in terms of the stages outcome, but gameplay itself remains the same. Perhaps if there were different modes or alternative challenges and rewards this could be improved upon.
It has to be said, there is nothing I’ve encountered in the Google Play Store quite like Funky Smugglers. I think what surprised me most about the game was that it was developed by 11 bit studios. We last encountered this team here on Android.Appstorm with Anomaly Warzone Earth HD, a game completely different to Funky Smugglers in pretty much every way.
Usually, developers stick to what they’re good at, such as the way Kairosoft makes retro-style games or Game Insight International creates tycoon games in a wide variety of themes. I think this demonstrates the flexibility of 11 bit Studios and their ability to create two very different games with arguably a very different target audience. Anomaly Warzone Earth HD broke the tower defense mold by becoming a decidedly tower ‘offense’ game and Funky Smugglers is certainly the first of its kind available.
The gaming experience on Funky Smugglers does suffer from the developers insistence on making users pay for the game and then charging for upgrades as well. While these are not essential, you do have to make the purchases to get the full benefit of the game.
However, if you want a truly unique challenge with superb graphics and a unique soundtrack, or if you like casual arcade games, tailor made for mobile devices and perfect for killing time on a commute, Funky Smugglers is definitely a unique contender.