Game Reviews

The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P.

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The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P.

Unless the Naked Gun franchise somehow managed to pass you by, you probably have a couple of expectations going into iOS adventure game spin-off The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P.

Chief of these is probably that you'd expect it to be funny. Unfortunately, that pun in the title is about as funny as the game gets.

After a cursory look at the screenshots you're probably also expecting The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P to be a point-and-click adventure. Wrong again.

Sure, it uses a familiar location-hopping, scavenger hunt-style structure, but there's little in the way of inventory-wrangling, puzzle-solving, or branching conversations.

Son of a gun

In The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P, you play as Lt. Frank Drebin Jr., son - yes - of the late Leslie Nielsen's classic series protagonist.

Episode 1 sees you patrolling the streets and attempting to solve a wide range of cases - some of them attached to the rather flimsy over-arching story and others entirely optional - while indulging in the odd mini-game or arbitrarily jabbing the screen in a desperate hunt for the seemingly endless list of hidden collectibles.

Each location has a tally of things to find - including squish-able cockroaches, police paperwork, and specific objects assigned to secondary cases - and you're free to hop around the map as you continue your kleptomaniacal dance of glee.

Occasionally, you'll converse with other characters, opening up new locations, and the cycle begins anew.

Personality counts

Unsurprisingly, the pacing is all over the place, and the game adopts a kind of kitchen sink approach to proceedings. There's even a totally incongruous real-time apartment upgrade mini-game that exists purely to encourage you to cough up real-world cash, despite the profusion of in-game currency.

Despite all that, there's something oddly likeable about the game's eagerness to entertain, even as virtually every gag falls flat thanks to poor scripting and stilted voice work.

All that kind of makes The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P. a tricky one to judge. Yes, it's a barely interactive hidden object extravaganza, but there's a genuine charm to its consistently varied, persistently good-natured gameplay.

It's pleasantly presented and broadly engaging, with a generous quantity of gentle, stress-free busywork. Lower your expectations, hop on in, and you'll find there's a lot to like about The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P's dumb but appealingly enthusiastic re-working of an indisputable comedy classic.

The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P.

A weird almost-adventure that's missing the wit and energy of its movie namesakes but almost makes up for it with a likeable enthusiasm of its own
Matt Wales
Matt Wales
Following a lifetime of adventure on the high seas, swabbing the editorial decks of the good ship IGN and singing freelance shanties across far-flung corners of the gaming press, Matt hung up his pirate hat and turned his surf-seared gaze toward the murky mysteries of the handheld gaming world. He lives to sound the siren on the best mobile games out there, and he can't wait to get kraken.