Gentlemen. Ladies. I suppose you're wondering why I've called you here today to this secret underground bunker lit only by a single dramatic light bulb. The simple fact is there's nobody else I can trust with this. Nobody else can do what you do. Even now the threat is looming closer, the giant shadow of doom hovering over our fair city. The army is defenseless. The airforce? Useless! No, what we need is a man of your skill. Unless you happen to be a lady, which is also fine. We need you, my friend, to combat… THIS GIANT SPERMATOZOA.
AWWWW, no! C'mon, come baaaaaaaaaack! Darn it, why does nobody take me seriously?
Okay, so at first glance, Seed of Destruction, the newest title from Florian Himsl (Komix) of Twin Hobo Rocket and Coil infamy, may not seem like it's for everyone. Playing the role of a gleeful fellow perched atop a gargantuan sperm, you zip through the city at breakneck speeds, squashing people beneath your impressive girth and deflecting missiles back at their shooters. But I'm sure there's a very good reason for it! A very deep, meaningful, thought provoking… uh… what is he doing to that grenade?
Using the [arrow] keys, you control the Seed and send it hurtling through the streets of terrified passersby and grim-faced military. Pressing the [up] arrow accelerates, while [down] decelerates, and you use [left] and [right] to rotate accordingly. Pressing and holding [space] can help you build up speed, indicated by the blue bar, that when released causes you to burst forward and ram enemies, but your primary means of defense is your tail. If a missile or other projectile is headed your way, you can twist around with the [arrow] keys and deflect it aside, instantly destroying whatever it collides with. Or if you like, you can also simply bludgeon things with your enormous torso. The Seed is very accommodating to your needs!
While the game starts off slowly, with you indulging in a bit of harmless pedestrian squelching, things quickly get serious as the army shows up to put a stop to your antics. If you think the worst you'll have to deal with is a grenade or two, think again when the bomber jets start dropping out of the sky. It's going to take some fancy flying to keep them from ruining your fun — which is to say, blowing you to smithereens — but if you've got the skills, the Seed has the means.
Seed of Destruction is hand-drawn by artist Grey Gerling with pencil crayons, and it's a technique that works here. Sporting cute and snarky animated cut-scenes between levels, the simple art holds up well during gameplay. It's more ribald than vulgar, and I spent most of my time with a half amused, half confused smile on my face. The music by Sulek is a toe-tappin', finger-snappin' guitar romp that makes you feel like you should be rocketing over a conveniently placed dirt ramp right beside the Duke boys, so don't be afraid to saddle up. (Daisy Dukes are optional, but encouraged.)
Analysis: Despite the cheeky subject matter, Seed of Destruction is so outlandish, so silly, so cheerfully bawdy that you can't help but like it. It's like a cuddly Saint Bernard that trashes your living room and then wants its belly rubbed. The expression of delight on your little rider's face, the way you can juggle grenades in mid-air, and the somehow just right guitar soundtrack combine to completely overrule any initial squeamishness I might possibly have had. The presentation is just so gloriously over the top.
Initially, I found controlling the mighty steed a little unwieldy. It's not exactly built for hairpin turns, and I spent a lot of time having missiles explode on me because I didn't allow enough time for me to actually spin my tail all the way around. Since explosions send you flying, I also spent a lot of time getting tossed about the screen like a pinball against a set of bumpers. Sure I was handling it like a pro before long, but I'm still impressed the little guy was able to keep hold of his cowboy hat.
At five levels, Seed of Destruction feels a little short, even with the four added mini-games. Pausing the game at any time by pressing [p] brings up a menu that allows you to adjust the difficulty, but even with it set to hard you can still expect to breeze through the game in a single sitting. Does that mean you should pass it up? No and no sir. Not only is Seed of Destruction one of the weirdest experiences you'll have in a game, it's a lot of fun to boot. Is it life-affirming? Is it poignant? Maybe! I guess it just goes to show that with a song in your heart and a giant sperm at your side, there's no end to what you can accomplish. The more you know.