The title 'Kick the Man' is a successful one, in that it tells you a lot about the game itself.
It tells you that a rough form of brawling plays a central role in the game. It also hints at a game that's not particularly subtle or nuanced.
Finally, it points to a game that only has a rudimentary grasp of the English language.
All kicking offNone of these elements is necessarily a bad thing in and of themselves, of course. There's a certain amount of knock-about fun to be had from this platform-brawler.
Your little robotic-bit-coin-symbol (I actually have no idea what it's supposed to be) runs from left to right through simple platforming sections. After a brief amount of platform-hopping you'll reach a little mini-arena, where a bunch of bad guys will spawn in and start wailing on you.
You have a few defensive measures at your disposal, including a good old fashioned melee attack (hammer the attack button), a dash-attack (hammer the directional button a couple of time and press attack), and a limited-use gun (hold the shoot button).
Kick the Man while he's downYour main tactical concern here is evading the deadly attacks coming from your opponents. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to come up short with your stubby melee attack, while the dash move isn't the most reliable to execute in the heat of battle.
The lack of an aerial melee attack is sorely felt, as you find yourself jumping or dropping to tackle enemies on different levels and being immediately biffed.
There are additional moves and combos to unlock, but there's a general stiffness to the combat, exacerbated by a cluttered screen, that never really passes.
Enemies have the nasty habit of ganging up, and it can be quite frustrating if more than one gets the drop on you (such as when you miss the aforementioned dash attack). Reinforcements also tend to warp in as soon as you finish the first wave, launching a tricky-to dodge attack.
It almost feels like the game is designed to kill you off so that you watch an ad or spend coins to continue, or even spend some of your currency mid-level to bolster your condition. You might argue this is akin to the coin-operated arcades of old, but it feels even more cynical than that.
Running out of legsThe plot that stitches Kick the Man's grindy action together borders on the nonsensical. It's written in poorly translated English, and the text is remarkably hard to read. I soon gave up trying.
It's somewhat indicative of a game that takes the established platfom-brawler basics and makes them just a little too rough around the edges, a little too irritatingly one-dimensional to be truly enjoyable.