Every now and again, an indy game comes along that is so morbid and ridiculous that only a true sicko could ever possibly appreciate the complete and utter weirdness of the game. Nine times out of ten, I am that sicko. Today, Who's Your Daddy joins the ranks of Goat Simulator and Who's Your Daddy in the Morbidly Hilarious Video Game Hall of Fame. I can't help it, my enjoyment of these games must be genetic.
Guts and Glory is classified on Steam as a "racing" game but it's more like an obstacle course. Pick your racer and try not to die. At one point in time, I was playing as a loving father with his toddler sitting on the seat on that back of his bike and a cannon shot the poor kid clean off. Another time I was a family driving through a parking lot when I suddenly was blown to bits by a landmine. Still another anecdote from this is when I was playing as a man who made a jet chair by attaching a propane tank to the back and I hit the sky barrier, then came straight down to get an achievement. Each and every one of these scenarios got a riotous laughter from my audience. This is one of those rare games that is just as fun to watch as it is to play. It's gory, it's gruesome, it's entirely in bad taste, and I couldn't be happier.
Guts and Glory is available on Steam for $14.99.
There are many stories involved with the tracks included with the game. One involves a father and a son preparing their town for the annual Guts and Glory Race. Another involves Earl the Redneck and his zany antics as he shows those rich snobs on the hill some local color. There's also Larry the rocket scientist who invented his rocket chair while high on LSD. Or perhaps you'd prefer the Yang family as they go on vacation to an amusement park that makes Itchy and Scratchy land look like the kiddie rides at King's Island. The only story you get is in the loading screens between the levels, but this is a game you play for the insanity of the gameplay, not the intricacies of the story.
As I said before, this is more of an obstacle course or a time trial game rather than a racing game. There are several characters available, each of which has their own unique feel and play style. You could do John and Jimmy, who is slower but a lot more relatable. You could do the Yang family, which is a family car that can do some insane Tokyo drift, or you could do Larry who flies in a homemade rocket chair. Each one has their own unique feel and style that lends themselves to traversing a horrid landscape of crossbows, cannons, and landmines. It isn't just point A to point B though, you have to go through several checkpoints on the way to try to get the fastest time. One of the things I like the most about this game is the fact that at the "save" checkpoints, it saves your time and you respawn at that point if you die until you finish the level. It gives this normally harsh and unforgiving game just that little bit of giving that helps you feel like you're making progress even as you are repeatedly impaled, sliced to ribbons, and blown to shreds.
Now, and this is important, be sure to play this on a controller because the keyboard and mouse support is ass. Half of the essential controls aren't even mapped to buttons and it's just a pain to deal with.
Choose your track
Each of the stages and tracks in this game is unique and specialized towards one specific racer, though they do make accommodations for other characters if you're having trouble with the one it was meant for. Now that isn't to say that they're easier or harder with other racers, they're just different challenges that may be better suited for your skillset. I love the different feel each stage has. The Yang family has long stretches of road because it's a road trip. John and Jimmy have a bunch of intricate obstacles and precise maneuvering. Larry has to deal with a massive cityscape to test his flying abilities. Each stage in each provides a unique and typically hilarious challenge and even though they're difficult you can't be mad in a game where you can win even if it's just your disembodied sternum crosses the finish line.
There is also a level editor so naturally, the steam community has some pretty interesting levels. Surprisingly, none of the ones I played were impossible, just difficult enough to provide an amusing and graphic challenge. None of that Mario Maker bullcrap where you need to get everything right within a frame or lose it all. All of the ones I did varied from somewhat difficult to extremely difficult, but nothing too rage-inducing. The community obviously enjoys the game and wants to challenge fellow players.
Not enough mayhem for you? One of the big draws of Guts and Glory is the in-game level creator, which I must say is very intuitive. It feels almost like Sim City but instead of a thriving metropolist, you're building a murder course full of kangaroo crossbow cavalry (you can't make this stuff up). You build from the terrain up, and you can make it as easy or as seemingly unachievable as you want. I tinkered around with it a bit and only found that I have no gift for level design, but I saw some very creative courses made in this editor.
Graphics and audio
The graphics are just realistic enough to make this concept oddly feasible and therefore more disturbing. Yes, there is the odd bug that makes it so your cyclist rides side saddle somehow, but all the human proportions are realistic and that makes it more disturbingly hilarious when you're turned into a human pin cushion by crossbow turrets. The "story" levels are great with building a matching aesthetic whether you're on an appalachian mountain or in a theme park. It all looks like what would be a normal level in a more generic game that's then subversed by the carnage.
The music is in the same vein as the graphics in that it helps to subvert what would have normally been a normal level with unspeakable violence. My favorite was the levels with John and Jimmy, the music sounded like this idyllic suburban music and then suddenly there was a toddler on a bike being horribly mangled.
The game seems deadset on all fronts to seem goodnatured despite the fact that you can blow up a little girl with landmines, which is exactly what makes the humor work. It doesn't look or sound like something so gruesome but yet here we are, and the game is all the better for it.
Some technical issues aside, this is a fun if flimsy game. Yes, it's basically a murder fest which will not appeal to everyone's humor, but it certainly does appeal to mine. It isn't something you will be playing for hours and hours straight, but it's something fun to take turns on with friends to see how you horrendously murder a happy family. The jokes my friends and I made as I played this game are basically what made it for me, but I could see it running thin faster if I were to play it alone for an extended period of time. If you're a sicko like me, this is definitely a game to look at. It may not be a hardcore experience, but there is certainly enough to make me gush from what's left of my mangled limbs all over it.
|+ Horrendous and hilarious carnage||– No single compelling narrative|
|+ All characters are different to play||– Bad keyboard and mouse support|
|+ Good user made levels||– Single joke can wear thin after a while|