Iron Snout is one of those games you look at, and think: “How on earth did this come about?”. I can’t say I’m complaining though, as it’s an absolute blast.
Iron Snout sees you taking control of a young piglet who, for some reason, is being attacked incessantly by unrelenting hordes of wolves. For reasons that are never explained, the piglet is unable to move from side to side, and stays fixed in the centre. The wolves approach you from both sides at varying speeds, and it’s your job to hack your way through as many as possible, all before they overwhelm you.
It’s a fairly simple premise, and the game never deviates from it, which I admire greatly. It doesn’t ever pretend to be something it’s not. It’s good, clean, simple fun. You have a few simple moves too, which can be carried out with either the face buttons or the D-pad. You can string together a few different moves, including punches, kicks and some occasional jumps to avoid some enemies, and the projectiles they throw. You can also pick up different weapons from your fallen foes, including knives, walking sticks and skateboards. Depending on the weapon, you can throw them back, or stand there and whack away.
There are several different game modes for you to try your hand at. The first is the classic mode, which is the most standard, and consists of you standing there and surviving for as long as you possibly can. A more finite mode exists, titled Pig vs 100, which pits you against 100 wolves that you have to kill. Basically, it’s classic mode with an ending. If you’re up for a much steeper challenge, you can select the sudden death option, where you die in one hit. It’s probably best to attempt this after you’ve played the game for a few hours, otherwise this is likely to end quickly. There’s also a rather bizarre two player mode appropriately called Wolfieball, which is essentially a game of volleyball. This is a strange inclusion, given the nature of the rest of the game, but a welcome one, although some more co-op options would have been welcome in a game as zany as this.
There are three maps between which you can choose to carry out your wolf killing; a forest, a suburban street and a ship, with the latter two unlocking as you put time into the game. What’s fun about this is that the aesthetics of your enemies change with the environment. For instance, I assumed that the wolves you encounter in the forest were standard through the rest of the game, but they’re not. When I unlocked the street, I realised that many of the wolves there were dressed like teenage kids and stay at home mothers. And then there are some in top hats and suits, which I don’t really understand, but you get the point. It mixes things up nicely, and makes you laugh at the same time. There are also a few enemies who like to attack aerially, in the shape of either a rocket or slow moving wrecking ball, which requires quick changes in your attacks to defend against. There’s no such thing as instakills in this game, with the majority of the enemies requiring a few hits to kill. This can make things quite chaotic (and a ton of fun) when the enemies start to stack up.
One thing that will keep you coming back – or at least the thing that kept me coming back – is the combo meter. In the top right corner is a counter that keeps track of the amount of consecutive hits you can take without getting hit. There aren’t really any bells and whistles to this, but the relentlessness of the enemies makes it a fun challenge to string combos together over 30. I can’t really say why it’s so addictive, it just sort of is. Handily, the game keeps track of a number of different stats on the right hand side of the screen in the start menu, including the number of strikes you’ve thrown, the highest combo you’ve accumulated, and the amount of wolf heads you’ve knocked off. There’s a fun, old school, arcadey feel to trying to one up your own stats.
The achievement list found within Iron Snout on Xbox One is a lot of fun, like the rest of the game. There’s a good mix of some very mad achievements combined with some more standard ones, such as getting a certain number of wolf kills. More fun ones include getting humped by a mini wolf (their words, not mine), impaling an enemy with a tree branch, and kicking the same wolf head twice. It’s quite likely that you’ll naturally pick these up as you play, without really trying. There are also some tougher ones mixed in, including one that requires you to kill at least ten enemies in the permanent death mode. There’s a good balance here, and players who invest some extra time will be rewarded for their skill and patience.
Overall, there aren’t many games at the same price that I can recommend more than Iron Snout. This is a game that does exactly what it says on the tin. There’s little else here apart from what I have described, and the game is better for it. If you really hate wolves, and you have a few hours to spare, then this is the game for you.