While the iPad is a technological marvel that may change the role of tablet computing in our lives, one thing it hasn’t changed is the public’s appetite for fart apps. At least I assume there’s an appetite for them, as the Apple app store is a treasure trove of sound boards, games, and goofy utilities all revolving around this bodily function. The vast majority of these flatulent time-wasters aren’t worth the time it takes to download them, but I had faith that somewhere there existed a diamond in the rough. Bad Air Day just may be that elusive diamond.

He Who Smelt It Dealt It?

Fart games aren’t typically famous for their riveting storylines, and sadly Bad Air Day’s plot is no exception. However, what it lacks in Shakesperean prose it more than makes up for in charm. Players take on the role of helping a hapless elevator attendant in a high-rise hotel who’s having a really bad day. You see, the hotel restaurant had an all-you-can eat taco buffet, and he overindulged just a bit on his lunch break. The result is a bad case of the old “silent but violents” – something difficult to hide on a crowded elevator!

Your duty is to guide the poor attendant’s noxious vapors into the overhead air vents before they offend – or possibly kill – the elevator’s passengers. Flatus is represented by clouds of billowing green “gas” that can be swiped with your finger. The controls are surprisingly intuitive and even young players should immediately get the hang of steering the fumes towards the ceiling and out of the vents. While the thought of steering farts around with a touch screen may sound utterly laughable, it’s hard to deny the simplistic pleasure of guiding gases around the screen with a few deft touches. Just as you might expect, there is some fluidity to the vapors. This means you won’t simply be able to swipe, flick, and forget it. You’ll constantly be corralling the gas in a frantic attempt to get it safely out of the way of your paying customers.

A Bunch of Nosy Passengers

Speaking of customers, you’ll get some doozies. Early levels make things easy. You’ll steer your scents around short, slow old ladies or disinterested bulldogs. As you go up floors and new passengers get on, however, you’ll have to deal with rollerskating bimbos who travel back and forth across the elevator, tall gentlemen whose heads brush the ceiling, or even pogo-sticking clowns. Things can even get even weirder – during my adventures I encountered flying UFOs, trash-can shaped robots, and a weird guy with a sock puppet on his hand.

So what happens when your passengers get a whiff (besides some major embarrassment?) Typically customers only get offended when the gas hits their nose, so as long as you keep the fumes away from their olfactory organs you’re safe. Let them catch a hint of your evil emanations, however, and you’ll start to fill up a pie chart showing their tolerance. Once the chart is full, the passenger will actually die (must have been SOME tacos!) Lose three passengers and it’s game over.

One interesting passenger you’ll see quite often is the “Fart Fairy.” This little critter doesn’t hate farts – he actually loves them! Steer your fumes into his nostrils and he’ll fill to bursting then disappear. Fail to give him what he craves, however, and he’ll explode into an additional cloud of flatulence that you must deal with.

Bad Air Day’s gameplay is quite challenging. While it starts off very simply, you’ll start getting hit with challenging scenarios very quickly. The two air vents in the elevator alternate randomly between on and off, meaning you may steer expertly up to the top only to find a closed vent. Your passenger mix can also get very challenging – for instance, when you get multiple tall passengers with very little wiggle room to maneuver past them. The game doesn’t use a traditional level-based progression. Instead, you’ll just keep riding up and up and up until you inevitably fail. The goal here is just to beat your previous score and earn one of several Game Center achievements.

Looks Better Than It Smells!

The game’s graphics are humorous and reminiscent of the art styles of John Kricfalusi of “Ren & Stimpy” fame. The animations as passengers respond to your frequent “outbursts” are quite funny, and even if you’re typically offended at these types of games you’re bound to find yourself at least smiling at the title’s quirky charm. Coupled with a delightful soundtrack and hilarious sound effects, this could be the most polished fart app you’ve ever run across.

Bad Air Day’s biggest downside is that as captivating as it is on first glance, the gameplay is ultimately pretty shallow. Once you’ve played the game a couple of times you’ll likely have seen almost all it has to offer. Unfortunately this means that unless you really enjoy beating your high score or gaining GameCenter achievements, there isn’t a heck of a lot of replayability to be found.

Despite these drawbacks the game is only 99 cents and is universal, meaning it plays equally great on iPhone or iPad. For that price it’s a fun little time waster and will surely get a few laughs from those you show it to. Perhaps its best feature is that despite the crude subject matter, the game is presented in a family-friendly fashion which should be pretty inoffensive to all but the biggest prudes. Adults may tire of the gameplay after a few rounds, but kids are sure to love it. I never thought I’d be recommending a fart app, but it just goes to show that a little personality can go a long way!

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