La Leyenda del Chupacabra sounds like the kind of game I would really like. It’s a stealth game with simple controls in which you play as a vampire, a murderous beast that devours the blood of the innocent. In theory, La Leyenda del Chupacabra should be an amazing title that dethrones Hilomi as my favourite mobile game. In theory, I should give it a five out of five and say my only gripe is that its name is too long. In theory, I should give it a glowing recommendation and tell you to go download it while I play it some more. Unfortunately, the disappointing reality is that Chupacabra isn’t nearly as good as it sounds.
After a loading screen that politely reminds you that the game is made by MEGO, Chupacabra prompts you to press start. Since most smartphones lack a start button, this is emulated by tapping anywhere on your phone’s screen. Your reward for discovering the solution to this first puzzle is that you’re given control of a goat-murdering vampire and mercilessly unleashed upon the unsuspecting goat population of a 2D version of Mexico. The game doesn’t explain the controls, but I can overlook that because they’re so simple: to run, you do nothing. To stop, you “press start” the same way you did to get past the title screen.
The objective, which shouldn’t surprise you, is to kill as many goats as you can without being spotted by any flashlight-wielding cowboys, who are probably just jealous that you get to be a vampire and they don’t. To kill goats, you simply avoid tapping the emulated start button and allow yourself to sprint through them. Every time you do this, your score increases by one. As an added bonus, you get to see each goat you kill explode into red, tasty pixels of goat blood. Chupacabra is a messy eater.
You must be careful though. Throughout 2D Mexico, vigilant cowboys sit on horseback, waving flashlights back and forth, hoping to spot the monster that slaughters their goats in the night. If you are caught in the beam of a flashlight, the cowboy holding that flashlight will immediately shoot you. When Chupacabra comes into contact with a bullet, the result is similar to the slime in a video game adaptation of the 90s Nickelodeon show All That: green, pixelated, messy, and completely innocuous to goats. And being innocuous to goats means the game is over.
To complicate matters, the screen constantly gets darker, returning to full brightness every time you kill a goat. If you allow the screen to go completely black, you starve to death and the game is over. This creates a nice balancing act that requires you to slow down enough to avoid the flashlight beams but not enough to starve to death before reaching the next goat.
All of this would make for a great game except for two problems I have with it. The first is that doing well seems to rely, at least to some degree, on luck. If you’re lucky, there will be lots of goats to eat with only the occasional cowboy to evade. If you’re unlucky, you’ll run into too many cowboys too close together and starve to death trying to sneak past them.
The second is that, if you run for a few seconds without stopping, you switch speeds from moderately fast to extremely fast. When running extremely fast, it’s much harder to stop in time when you see a cowboy. To get around this, I tapped my screen every few seconds to keep my speed at moderately fast. This probably won’t be an issue for everyone, but it kept the game from being fun for me. I hate having to constantly interrupt the game to keep it from giving me something that would usually be, and should be, considered a power up.
Despite its good points, Chupacabra isn’t a good game. To be fair, it’s not that bad either, and I can understand how other people would like it. The bottom line is that I didn’t enjoy it, but it’s a free download, so it may still be worth checking out.
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