Playing a great mobile game is like eating a bag of Oreos: you can enjoy each bite-sized morsels at a reasonable pace or just demolish sleeve after sleeve until it's done.
In Cookies Must Die, you play as Jack, a secret agent with superpowers who's been dispatched to destroy an army of mutated cookies that are threatening to destroy the city. These cookies are heavily armed — but so are you. This outlandish premise manages to deliver on both quick and casual gameplay that ultimately rewards patience and strategy as you master the controls binging through chaotic stages filled with action, explosions, and lots of crumbs.
If it still needs to be clearly stated, Cookies Must Die is absolutely bonkers in all the right ways. It has the same pure destructive energy as a fling-and-smash game like Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre but with an added focus on player control and freedom of movement while the game throws continues to throw new challenges at you.
The controls are simple and easy to pick up. You fling Jack around the screen with swipes and tap and hold to activate bullet time that slows everything down, allowing you to dodge enemy attacks and plan your next move. We've seen fine examples of swipe-based controls before, with games like Witcheye, but here there's the addition of firepower and more "realistic" physics. By that I mean not only can you smash through enemies, there's also a full arsenal of weapons available to unlock along with helpful gadget power ups that you collect for completing each game chapter and can upgrade with the coins you collect destroying mutant cookies.
The game is broken up into 24 chapters that each feature four stages leading up to a challenging boss finale. I absolutely adore the look of this game. Each stage can be played at a blazing fast pace where you're just flinging yourself towards the finish — but you'll be better rewarded by slow things down with bullet time and analyzing the upcoming section of enemies. The art style and animation are also top-notch, with a great variety in the tasty assortment of pastry enemies. Each enemy attacks and defends in different ways, so you need to learn how to avoid taking damage while attacking them. The bosses are particularly tricky foes, and if you die at any point during the chapter you need to start the chapter over from stage one.
For a free-to-play game, Cookies Must Die gets a solid recommendation. There are in-app purchases for buying gems, which can be spent to revive Jack or to buy coins to upgrade new characters or upgrade your HP and gadgets. There are also ads for getting free rewards, but nothing is too intrusive. I personally would have been more inclined to spend a few dollars upfront for the game to forgo the ads and in-app purchases, but that's just how the cookie crumbles.
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