A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find 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 & Scariness
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."
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Products & Purchases
A link on the title screen takes you to a list of other apps you can buy from the same publisher.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.