WTF?!: sidescroller WoW parody

Michael Gray
M. Gray|06.03.08

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WTF?!: sidescroller WoW parody
WTF?!: The GameWarning: while this review is completely Safe For Work, the subject of the review is certainly not. You should wait until you get home before trying out the game.

We received quite a few tips about the new World of Warcraft homage game called WTF?! Currently offering a "demo" version, WTF?! is a side-scrolling comedy, featuring two main characters available for your control. You can play the scarlet-topped Blood Elf Priest named "Phallicity" or the rockin' Gnome Rogue named "Lumpen."

The premise of the game is focused on the world of...

..."Azimuth" where a Rift Lord has opened a portal from the ideaological homeworld of Karl Marx, Mary Daly, and Sigmund Freud. You start off by re-sheeping the enlightened converts of Marx, only to be forced to mass slaughter them when your mentor decides Marx is gaining followers far too quickly. After leaving them nothing but ex-sheep corpses beneath your sword, you are told to go showdown with a dwarven, and rather polite, Karl. Hijinks continue to ensue.

The controls and game play for the WTF?! are relatively simple, and definitely call back to its source: World of Warcraft. You get items, armor, and spells. You complete quests. You gain cash, and levels. The game is a side-scroller, and actually leads to some of my favorite humor from the game. (Jumps, deaths, and respawns all pay homage to the most legendary of sidescroll heroes: Mario.) The controls are easy enough that you'll pick them up without having to read through too much of the tutorial.

The game itself warns you: they're playing with bleeding-edge Flash stuff in this game. It can be laggy on a weaker machine, and the developers offer you a few tips on how to mitigate poor performance. The graphics are pretty cool. They did a lot of clever costume design (I'm a fan of Sigmund's outfit, and wish I could raid Karazhan in it.) "Effin' Forest" is your starting area, and the textures and images come straight from WoW. It was pretty cool to look at, and I was impressed by the style.

WTF?!That being said, WTF?! confuses me. On one hand, it's got a lot of toilet humor, and toilet-humor's close cousin "sophomore sex humor." That shouldn't be a shock -- the main, default character is named Phallicity. Freud's appearance in the game aside, the double-entendre is reinforced when you get a holy spell to orally blow an enemy away. This style humor and reference doesn't seem to go away, and I found it distracting from an otherwise pretty fun game. I guess it could just be me getting old, but that kind of thing isn't my style anymore.

On the other hand, my confusion comes about because of the much higher-brow references and humor that litter WTF?! Like I've said, the plot of the game is focused around ideaological conflicts. The idea that Karl Marx is turning Sheep into People is a pretty fun concept to play with. I found myself reading the quest-giver's text very closely, and it was pretty easy to see him being the Man trying to keep the Worker Down. His name is Hegemon, after all, which is a pretty straightforward reference.

WTF?!I can't tell you whether you'd like the game. I enjoyed it on one level, even if the more crass jokes really distracted me from otherwise fun things on another level. It's hard not to compare WTF?! to the Murloc RPG that went around a few years ago. I think, for my money, WTF?! is probably more advanced and detailed, but Murloc RPG is smoother without the toilet-humor distraction.

It should be noted, in addition, that the authors of WTF?! makes the tools they used freely available to other aspiring game makers. The "!" suite of Flash Tools (formerly known as "WoW inspired side-scrolling Flash-based, RPG, SDK") are readily available for download from WTF?!'s website. I thought that was an incredibly generous, awesome touch. I'm no programmer, but I admit -- I've downloaded the files to see what there is to play with.

All in all, WTF?! is definitely worth the play-through. If you find the vulgar humor more distracting than even I did, you might not make it far. But the graphics, and philosophical jokes, definitely ended up redeeming it for me. I'd recommend it for the next time your waiting for your server come back up. It'll keep you in the WoW-mind while you're waiting to get back in the game for real.
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