In the world of Chuck Darwin's Extinction Squad, all it takes to save endangered species is to hang out underneath cliffs the animals march off of, holding out a stretcher that bounced the little fuzzballs to safety.

If you miss, the animals die a bloody death, instantly turning into a steak and bones. If you accidentally catch one of the many bombs that hails on you from above, it's you that meats the grizzly end. Because bombs that plummet into the ground right at your feet somehow don't explode. Videogame logic at its finest, folks.

You need to rescue a pre-set number of animals before moving through each round. Because you're not punished much for letting animals die -- all that happens is you lose your streak multiplier -- it often makes sense to sacrifice dodo birds, apes, lions and pandas in the name of self-preservation.

Some of the larger beasts bounce up and down on your stretcher, forcing you to stay beneath them to send them on their way. A smattering of power-ups, including a magnet that draws animals toward you, makes things easier. You can also tip the odds in your favor by doing what the app constantly begs you to do and visit the in-game store.


You can also spend in-game currency on power-ups and upgrades that make the game easier and help you earn coins faster. Every few levels you'll earn a spin of a wheel that gives you the upgrades for free.

All the action takes place on a single screen -- which you can swap out for various backgrounds in the form of continents you unlock -- and it's easy to fall into an old-school arcade-style trance, with no desire to put down the utterly simplistic game.

With the Adult Swim label smacked on the package, we expected more subversive humor there. But other than the gore, the game is disappointingly tame. The music is shrill and there's either no voice acting or so little we couldn't remember it. The characters celebrate hot streaks with text bubbles that say things like "frickin' juicy" and "tops, mate!"

While it's annoying to have the game try to sell us stuff constantly, upgrades aren't too expensive. Coins that let you unlock additional levels range from $1 to$8, but you can earn enough to unlock everything you like without spending any extra money.

Although what's in the game is fun in spurts and benefits from tight controls, there's just not much to the experience. Chuck Darwin's Extinction Squad feels like a decent side mode in a bigger, better Adults Swim game, or at least a single option in a mini-game compilation. There are worse ways to spend your iTunes dollar, but also just as many better ways.

Chuck Darwin's Extinction Squad ($0.99), available on iOS platforms, was published by Adult Swim, which provided a code for review. We played the game on an iPod Touch for two hours.

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