When a games developer and publisher decides to call their company “Whack It”, you’re immediately aware of what their games will entail. The “Whack It” games to date have been impressively simple, yet simply impressive in the entertainment they offer. Whack the Burglars is yet another visceral, bloody endeavour from Whack It, and it is arguably the best release yet. It retains what is now the characteristic point-and-click format, with each click on an on-screen object (or combination of objects) leading to some rather inventive, and of course rather violent kills. So if you feel that intruders to your property should be treated with the utmost disregard and ultra-violence – and let’s be honest, most of us feel this way – then playing Whack the Burglars is an absolute must.
Whack the Burglars’ kill scenarios are essentially a collection of what everyone in the world secretly wishes to do to their worst enemies. In this respect, it doesn’t matter whether you’re whacking burglars, bosses, or mowing down people in fellow violence-game Carmageddon: the point is that the player is given access to a series of violent scenarios that mirror the deepest, darkest, and most twisted desires of the human psychological make-up.
The “Burglars” aspect is relevant here too, though, because it has given the developers a framework and a theme around which to base the violent kill scenarios. Each of the scenarios is activated by clicking on either a single object or combination of objects sitting around the Patrick’s (the upstanding citizen whose house is being burgled in the opening section of the game) home. The simplicity borders on the genius, too. People looking for quick, violent thrills don’t wish to install large game files and spend ages fighting to get to bosses and cooler sections of the game – Whack the Burglars delivers you the violent kill scenarios on a plate. All you have to do is seek out the weapons with which you wish to do your violent bidding, and you’ll trigger a kill scenario, each as satisfying as the last. Perhaps even more so, in fact.
Now, as is advertised, there are 34 kills in total to discover. Hover your mouse over the various objects on the screen, and you’ll be able to click on any object that displays a red outline when you’re hovering over it. Some objects, such as the floor lamp and cushion in the Living Room area, initiate kills straight away. Other objects must be utilised in combination with another object somewhere in the room, which serves to add to the challenge of the game. Though the single-object kills are there for the taking, it takes a bit of trial-and-error for the multi-object murders, but they’re definitely worth the effort.
A typical example of a single-object kill is the Bottle of 100-Proof whisky scenario, where Patrick smacks the burglar over the head with the bottle to stun him, and as if reading our minds, pours the liquid over him and sets him alight. The aftermath, i.e. the burglar running through the window and us catching glimpses of him through the window as he runs back and forth outside the house in excruciating pain, is typical of the kind of light-hearted humour displayed by the entire Whack It series of games. At each point in at least one of the kills, the player is guaranteed to be on the same wavelength as Patrick. This relatability even in the wake of such incredibly visceral and violent behaviour is what pulls one into the game even further, and makes it so enjoyable in the first place.
There are more kills to discover, too, such as the Movie Disc + TV Remote scenario where the combination causes the terrifying girl from The Ring to come out of the screen and scream the burglar to death, after which she turns on a music channel and twerks along to the video. Bizarre? Yes. Entertaining? Also yes.
There’s very little else to discuss about the game, save its unique artistic style. Whack the Burglars isn’t a hyper-textured, ultra-detailed game with the polish of, say Kingdom Rush Frontiers, but its black-and-white, mildly cartoon-like style makes it quite unique. The sound effects are basic, but a million times better than having poor voice-overs recorded to fill in the gap that’s amply occupied by simplicity rather than complexity. The black-and-white style further hammers home the impact, too, when crimson-red blood splatters, sprays, pools, and generally flies across the screen during the kills. It’s difficult to find a true criticism of the game, too, aside from the need for the Esc key on the keyboard to exit the combined-kill dialogue box when you wish to change your mind.