Of course, I loved Garbage Pail Kids when I was a kid. Every generation needs its gross-out toy that parents don’t understand. GPK was our generation’s poop emoji. Disgusting, crass, deep down funny, and inappropriate in certain company. We bought fresh packs at the convenience store on the way home from school. I destroyed a very nice desk in my bedroom with numerous stickers; the remnants of which still exist to this day.
The Garbage Pail Kids brand has seen a resurgence in recent years. It took near 30 years to recover from the infamous movie, but now there’s toys, clothing, even a Funko brand cereal, and now a mobile game. The appeal of the game is much like the draw of the cards. Deceptively easy to pick up a few initially, mindless and quick. Then by the time things become a little difficult the desire to keep trying is too strong. Taking hours and hours trying to gain one more card. Knowing full well your time and money would be better spent elsewhere. Topps is my pusher-man.
Exposition is given so there’s some reason behind the card battles. It’s ultimately unimportant, but the Nuts vs the Dolts in a battle to train the best fighters. Then they will defeat the Tidy Bowler for good. Your player is given two cards to start battling with. I received Tee Vee Stevie and Armpitt Britt. The cards look just like the originals and have a bit of animation. No longer than a gif. The first battle is my two vs four enemy cards and the game held my hand throughout. Press this button to attack. This button to defend or restore health. Rinse, repeat, parry, dodge. Initial levels of the game continue like this and play becomes absent-minded. As long as I could see the highlighted spot in my peripheral vision these battles moved quickly while I paid more attention to the TV. The actual HD one, not Stevie.
Battles are won, trinkets to level up are obtained, and a third card is claimed. My third was Roy Bot. Now is when the constant Loading screen started to bother me. I’m aware loading screens are a necessary evil. The kid who bought packs of these cards could never dream of a time when such a technology would be a reality. That said, it’s still horribly annoying to pop up constantly.
There are daily rewards, gameplay rewards, or if you want to use real-world money to level up. Honestly, I would rather have more character cards and fewer upgrades. No one is excited to buy a fresh pack and find it full of power-up cards.
I easily won all 3 on 2 (in my favor) and 3 on 3 battles up to a point. Turns out this all took place in the introductory Easy Mode. Once I jumped up to Level 5 Hard Mode kicked in and I got kicked right in the pail. I was destroyed faster than the script to the GPK sequel.
What bothered me the most is knowing the defeat was due to one wrong move. Knowing which one to avoid I tried again. Defeated once more but I knew what I did wrong yet again. I’ve become an addict. Unknown to me there’s a gambling addict in my head and he’s saying just one more turn. I’m due for a win. I’ve figured out the system.
In reality, the only one who has figured out the system is Topps. Over thirty years later and this deceptively simple concept proves to have nuance and surprises inside every turn.