A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kick the Buddy: No Mercy is an app that encourages players to torture and maim a talking stuffed doll for entertainment purposes. Users can stretch the doll's arms and legs and separate its head from its body, shoot it with guns, poison it, use medieval weapons on it, or blow it up again and again, all with the goal of earning points. The violence is meant to be humorous, but the doll does show signs of suffering and does "die" in the game for short periods. The developer requires users to be 13 or older to use the app.
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What's it about?
Players select from an arsenal of weapons by pulling a red ribbon at the top of the page. Most are only available when purchased, but early weapons include a gun, mace, and a hand grenade. From there, players shoot, hit, and toss explosives at a rag doll that never ceases to stop tossing out annoying one-liners. Players also can physically torture the doll, stretching its arms and legs and detaching its head from its torso by touching the image with two fingers and pulling in opposite directions.
Is it any good?
We get it. This is supposed to be a harmless stress buster, and the original Kick the Buddy kept that in mind. KICK THE BUDDY: NO MERCY, however, is a game with a mean streak -- and, even worse, it's a greedy one. The game actively encourages players to beat the heck out of the little guy on-screen -- and rewards them with small amounts of "cash" to buy weapons that do more damage and elicit his screams of anguish.
That cash takes a long while to amass, though, meaning that if you want more weapons, you'll eventually cave in and give the game more money. As if this weren't distasteful enough, the app also taunts the player with phrases such as, "Santa won't like this!," and it calls you a "loser" if you accidentally tap an item in the store you can't afford. It's an app devoid of any real fun, and it's full of repetition. It might be marketed as a stress reliever -- and, for some adults, it might be. Those same adults, though, will wonder why they've spent money on a game that gets so old, so fast.