Endless running games and 80s style action heroes – two things that have most certainly gone out of style, but are still loved regardless. With a name like Bill Killem, you wouldn’t expect Everplay Interactive’s game to tax the grey matter, and you would be correct.
Here is a game that takes the endless runner and makes a few minor and major changes to elements of the formula. For a start, Bill doesn’t run automatically, with every footstep and jump under your direct control, and he can even walk left and right – now there’s progress! The motivation for constantly moving right is the alien UFO that gradually approaches, threatening to abduct you if you fail to collect clocks to increase your time.
Secondly, Mr Killem likes to shoot aliens with a variety of weapons, from the basic starting pistol to the superior weaponry found in handy (and potentially unsafe to the general public) boxes littered throughout your linear, infinite path. It is Bill Killem’s (and therefore your) goal to travel as far as you can, shooting enemies, collecting clocks and basically not dying. Your score is calculated from the distance you travel and the number of enemies you dispatch, with the usual leaderboards available to compare your best scores with the rest of the world.
Which is basically your only motivation for playing the game, to be honest. Being an endless runner, there is little to do but, well….run, with no variation to the environment you’re jogging through, and little variation to the enemies themselves. All there is to do is to better yourself, and while that isn’t always an issue in any game, here there isn’t enough of a hook to the gameplay to justify any sort of dedication.
Sure, there are coins to collect, which can unlock power-ups to activate at the beginning of each playthrough, that can make you run faster, give you a jetpack, let you start further along the level, or give you a magnet to make coin collection a little easier. Coins can also be used to upgrade these power-ups too, as well as unlock various useless costumes for Bill.
As per many other mobile games, there’s also a mission system in place, giving you coins and increasing your level when certain tasks are completed, such as killing so many enemies, using a particular costume, or activating a certain number of power-ups, etc. Going up in levels doesn’t really serve a purpose, so I’m not entirely sure why it’s even there.
Other mainstays of mobile gaming also rear their head, from the usual pointless in-app purchases, to the always popular pixel art/chiptune presentation. With so little variety going on in the game, the pixel sprites are rather basic and lacking character, while there is only one piece of chiptune music running throughout the game. Now, as a fan of all things retro, I never have a problem with pixel art and chiptune – however, we’re now seeing this style so often, it’s beginning to feel incredibly stale. If you’re going to go retro, do it well and above all, do it unlike everyone else. Sadly, Bill Killem is pretty generic in this regard.
VERDICT: Which, in truth, is the word I’d best use to describe this game as a whole. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, and while it’s a decent take on the runner game, you’ve no doubt seen it done so much better elsewhere. There’s very little payoff or reason for repeated plays, and that’s a big problem with a mobile game.
AVERAGE. The epitome of a 50/50 game, this title will be unspectacular but inoffensive, charmless but amiable. We aren’t condemning a game by scoring it a 5, but we certainly aren’t championing it, either.
Review code provided by publisher.