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REVIEW | “A Thug in Time” Fun, But Not At Its Prime

Posted on August 14, 2013 AT 06:00am

A Thug in Time, a new game from Destructamobile, is a silly premise. Take a gang member in the present-day, drop him into different time eras, and have him collect crystals in order to save the world. Is it as fun as it sounds, though?

Throughout a course of 65 levels you’ll be controlling the thug (who goes by the name of Kai) as you mow down Vikings, cowboys, gangsters, and even the creators of the world who have returned to destroy it. As you progress you’ll earn coins and cash that can be used to buy new weapons and upgrades, as well as crystals needed to unlock the next level sections. These levels can range from protecting portals from being infiltrated by enemies, reaching checkpoint destinations, and your occasional escort missions.

I’m going to be very blunt and say that A Thug in Time gets repetitive fast. While it’s cool to be taking on people of the past with rifles and badder weapons the entirety of the game will have you shooting and evading enemy fire. There are no puzzles to solve, no real character development, nor are there changes to the gameplay aspect. Just endless droves of enemies whose main task is to kill you. This can be a major buzzkill in escort missions, where I found either myself or the person I’m protecting dying near the end of each of these levels.

While it is repetitive, it’s not to say that it isn’t fun. In fact it can be quite a good challenge, especially when having to protect the portals from enemy interference. Power-ups like temporary infinite ammo and invincible does come in handy in some levels, and can lead to some cool little kill tactics.

That said there are some strange flaws with a couple of the power-ups, especially with the Slowmo one. Instead of just making your enemies slower it turns the speed down for everything, including yourself. You can still be hit easily by enemies, and to watch yourself run out of ammo and have to reload in slow motion is quite a painful sight.

The first time I played A Thug in Time I made the mistake of playing it on a tablet instead of my iPhone. The result was a very painful and heavy experience that left me more frustrated than anything else. I kept having to switch my fingers to run and shoot, as my hands were starting to ache. Once I switched to the iPhone, however, playing the game felt a lot more natural and fun. My advice: don’t play this game on a huge tablet, as your hands will pay for it.

Graphically the characters can be a bit blocky and the worlds aren’t very detailed, but for a free-to-play title that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However it’s the cel-drawn animated sequences that are beautiful to behold. With such amazing attention to the shading and character designs the overall the quality of it could very well be used as a pilot of sorts for its own TV show. (The premise alone is worthy of something of [adult swim] or FOX’s recent ADHD block.)

As mentioned A Thug in Time is F2P, and you can earn all the weapons without having to drop a dime. However you can pay to earn more cash towards the bigger weapons, and for some people (like myself) you may be driven to be impatient with earning weapons. $10 can get you just about every weapon and almost all the upgrades, so it’s not that bad of a deal in the long-run if you are into twin-stick shooters.


  • Dual sticks very responsive
  • Good amount of weapons, power-ups to choose from
  • Love the animated cutscenes


  • Not comfortable on bigger tablets
  • Gets repetitive
  • Escort missions are a pain


A Thug in Time has its flaws, but it’s not a bad game. With enough time, patience, and concentration it’s actually quite fun. If you are a fan of twin-stick shooters and strange storyline premises, then A Thug in Time may just be up your alley. If not, well, it’s free, so just trying it out to see if you like it won’t cost you anything.

FINAL GRADE: 6.5 (out of ten)

iOS review code provided by The Bohle Company

An accomplished music, anime, and video game critic, Evan Bourgault has been a Contributing Editor and Podcast host with ElectricSistaHood since 2008. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Follow Evan on Twitter at

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