MEGATech Reviews: South Park Phone Destroyer (Android)
If you're a big fan of the show, then you'll find a lot to like from this casual game. Expect plenty of laughs and surprisingly engaging gameplay, though you will eventually need to "grind it out." Blame Canada?
  • Simple, yet engaging gameplay
  • Genuinely laugh-out-loud funny
  • Can play without spending money
  • Long load times
  • Freemium catches up to you eventually
  • Gets repetitive after a while
9Overall Score

I’m going to level with you. I was a huge fan of South Park for a very long time, but I haven’t actually watched the show in years. Shameful, I know. But when I heard that they were going to have an awesome mobile game based on the series, I couldn’t help myself. Tying you over until South Park: The Fractured But Whole launches later this year, there’s South Park Phone Destroyer for Android and iOS. Spoiler: it is every bit as glorious as you might imagine.

Pick Up Your Phone

Let me preface this by saying two more things. First, the game is still in beta (as far as I know), so there might still be some changes before they release the final version. Second, I played it on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, so dealing with the controls on the smaller screen of a smartphone might not be quite as enjoyable.

The premise of South Park Phone Destroyer is that you’re the new kid in town and all the kids are getting together for some strange digital version of a real-time battle. There’s no shortage of fan service here, so you’ll find plenty of familiar locations and characters.

Most of the characters all take on a battle-ready variant of themselves, so there’s a version of Stan’s dad that dresses up like Leeloo from The Fifth Element and there’s a version of Token that’s inspired by the Klingons in Star Trek. If you’re easily offended, this is not the game for you. But if you’re easily offended, you’re probably no fan of South Park in the first place.

A Game of Cowboys and Indians

The game mechanic is based on Cowboys and Indians (sort of), or at least that’s how they first sets the stage. You build a deck of up to ten cards, five of which are visible at any time. Each card requires a varying level of energy before you can play it and this energy automatically regenerates over time. You don’t actually control the individual characters, per se.

Instead, you simply play them and they go out and do their own thing. The exception is when the character has a charge move. With Cartman, for example, after he builds up his charge move, you can tap on the icon floating above his head, and he goes crazy with his guns, shooting in every which direction. Some characters have “war cry” specials that they perform when you play their card and others have special moves that they do when they die. And then there are additional elements like poison, lightning strikes and freeze rays.

The ultimate objective is to move your team from left to right, defeating all the enemies along the way, culminating in a boss battle. The strategy comes in choosing which cards to play and when, as well as when to activate their specials. You can place any character typically anywhere within the left half of the screen. The net result is a game that is both reasonable simple and surprisingly frantic.

The artwork in this game really is stunning and true to the source material. They’ve taken a great deal of care here, while simultaneously upholding the “we don’t really take ourselves all that seriously” mindset that we’ve come to expect from Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Animations are wobbly, like in the cartoon, and the personality really comes shining through.

Upgrades and In-Game Purchases

The good news is that South Park Phone Destroyer is free to download. The bad news is that it’s “free” the same way that Farmville and Candy Crush are free; they’re freemium. The core game will always be totally free to play, but there is an in-game currency that you can spend on upgrades.

I am very thankful that unlike many other freemium games, South Park Phone Destroyer doesn’t limit the number of games you can play for free before your meter regenerates. You can keep grinding it out with the same stage over and over again as many times as you want. Your real money, if you choose to spend it, is only in the store to buy new cards or to buy the items to upgrade your cards. You never have to spend a dime.

One thing that I neglected to mention is that the character cards come in a few broad sweeping categories. Assassins, like Smuggler Ike here, have relatively low health and relatively high damage output. You can check the stats of each card, plus what items you need to upgrade them. And then you choose which 10 cards you want to have in your deck. This adds a fantastic level of depth that is also very accessible.

MEGATechie Better Than Cheesy Poofs or MEGATechie You Killed Kenny?

I really liked this game. Some of its humor is decidedly offensive, but it’s not like we’ve ever expected any different from a South Park title. The gameplay is at once simple and complex, the visuals are bright and surprisingly detailed, and best of all, it truly is fun to play.

At least until you hit the brick wall. Some of the stages are understandably (and thankfully) more challenging than others, but I got to a point around stage 23 where it seemed practically impossible to win. I kept going back to earlier stages to earn more upgrade items, but it was never enough. What’s more, the upgrade item that looks like a drumstick (and is actually a dead rat) is very rare (or even nonexistent) as a regularly earned item. It has to be bought in the store. Like so many freemium games, I hit a point where it felt like I almost had to spend money to continue.

All this said, if you’re a fan of the series and you want a fun (and funny) game to entertain you for hours, South Park Phone Destroyer is well worth picking up. Get it for free in the App Store for iOS or the Google Play Store for Android.

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