Smack That Gugl

App review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Smack That Gugl App Poster Image
"Kill" instructions turn cute smacking game to creepy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The rules are easy: smack the squishy creatures as they appear. The Gugls pop up very quickly with every consecutive level, increasing the difficulty. But you can also choose "Kid" level (which is below Level 1) for a nice slow game.

Violence

The violence in the game is on the same basic level as any Whack-a-Mole type game, although the game begins with the disturbing instruction "Kill them all." Here you smash little clay creatures that pop up onscreen. They leave little spatters of colored clay after you hit them. Some "Gugl" creatures are covered with red dots and you need to avoid those, because they have the "plague."

Sex
Language
Consumerism

A link on the title screen takes you to a list of other apps you can buy from the same publisher.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Smack That Gugl is a target-smashing game in the Whack-a-Mole vein but that kids are instructed to "kill" the creatures, which puts a violent aspect into the game. Little clay creatures pop up and you smack them into colorful flat spatters as quickly as you can so as to "kill" them. Also note that some of the Gugl creatures are diseased (with some kind of pox) and you will lose a life if you touch them.

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Is it any good?

So much of SMACK THAT GUGL is cute, colorful, and generally inoffensive fun. But then there's the "Kill them all" directive that starts each round, which puts an ugly aura over the experience. This is basically a fun exercise in reaction time, and the challenge factor ramps up nicely as new types of Gugls are introduced -- some that require two smacks to destroy, or ones that split into two entirely new creatures, and so on. If only the "killing" aspect didn't make it feel creepy.

App details

For kids who love fast-paced apps

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