Nostalgia sells, and this much anticipated app draws upon '80s kids' memories of their favorite gross-out toys, with an aim to making money by reigniting that childhood passion. Unfortunately, due to dull, repetitious combat and a super-slow collection mechanic, nostalgia is about all Garbage Pail Kids: The Game has to offer. Admittedly (for those of us who remember them), it's fun at first, getting reacquainted with the Garbage Pail Kids. Who can forget Adam Bomb or TeeVee Stevie? These objectionable characters, with their violent tendencies and poor hygiene, will no doubt elicit the same giggly reaction in today's kids as yesterday's. Whether that's appropriate in today's political climate is another story. Some cards represent characters who cross-dress or who have physical deformations or weight problems, and conscientious parents might want to avoid encouraging their kids to laugh at people who are obese, disabled, or gender-fluid.
Beyond questions of sensitivity and taste, the app succeeds somewhat in terms of gameplay. It's quick and easy to jump in, create a squad, and fight, especially if you turn on auto-play mode. Character upgrades are straightforward and simple, and the app tells you when and where to use your equipment. Leveling is also a breeze, because once you've won a battle, you can "insta-win" it as long as you have enough energy and insta-win tickets. The energy mechanic can, of course, limit your free play, but that might not be an issue, considering the app's inherent repetition. Its three single-player modes play more or less identically, and player-vs.-player (PvP) does little to differentiate itself. Because of this, after a few hours, Garbage Pail Kids: The Game becomes less a fun strategy game and more a tedious slog to collect all the cards. If your sense of nostalgia (and your love of gross-out jokes) compels you to endure this, you could find some satisfaction from going through the process. But otherwise, you might find yourself wanting to toss this app in the trash.