The Culling of the Cows: Zombies and Udder Destruction

Previously in the Saladiverse, we visited the RPG realm. Now, opting for a more exotic genre experience, we’re exploring the game The Culling of the Cows by DL Softworks.

Remember all those times you fantasized about a zombie outbreak? We tend to imagine ourselves as some epic survivor, when reality dictates that we’d probably become an undead snack before our first nap. Now picture the same apocalyptic scene, but this time zombie cows have come to graze on your flesh. Scary huh?

Never mind that this nightmare may actually be closer to reality than one might think. Let’s take some proactive cow-control measures in the insane (but not inane) The Culling of the Cows. Henceforth referred to as TCotC.

TCotC places you in the shoes of a simple farmer, defending his land from the zombie cow onslaught with trusty shotgun in hand. The Z-cows advance in waves, and each level ramps up the difficulty, forcing you to utilize both power-ups and the power of prayer (you’ll see what I mean).

Thanks for the assist God.

The Culling of the Cows brims with quirky qualities, but these three in particular kept me mowing down cows all night long:

Bear in mind that I have yet to complete the entirety of TCotC, but I’ve played enough to garner an informed opinion.

A Side-Scrolling Shooting Frenzy, with Cows!

Few games live up to the term “niche” like TCotC. Among a vast universe of RPGs, FPSs, and other acronymical game genres, TCotC has the audacity to stand apart. It self-advertises as a “side scrolling shooter/tower defensegame. Truth be told, I haven’t really run into one of those since addictinggames.com in middle school. However, TCotC expands upon this antiquated genre in much the same manner as this antiquated meme.

Laser sight really helps when you lack the depth perception required to kill a zombie cow.

TCotC brings you back to simpler days, away from the tropes and overly complicated plot that every AAA title serves up nowadays. It doesn’t offer any “mandatory” side quests or preposterous micro-transactions. TCotC just wants three things from you:

  1. Don’t get hit by a cow.
  2. Don’t let the cows get past you.
  3. Shoot like mad.

Of course that last step is somewhat subjective and depends on player preference, but I find the “accelerated clicking” approach to be a solid one.

From “Game Over” to “You Win” in Record Time

The game poses a challenge, and its fast pace is a feature in this regard, not a bug. TCotC doesn’t hold back, and throws you into the thick of Z-cow slaughter.

Say goodbye to loading screens, as the game tosses you right back in after each death. The transition between dying and shooting is a mere button click. We live in a gaming world chock-full of annoying mechanics like:

Whereas TCotC allows us to hop in and game with zero fuss. Those of you who use long queues and load times as an opportunity to do chores or use the bathroom might find an issue with this though.

The dead cow carcasses look lovely this time of year.

The warp-speed action makes the gameplay a tad unforgiving. Given the quick restart, one could assume that the devs expected us to die a lot. I, for one, did not subvert their expectations.

Much like the loading screens, checkpoints do not exist. One mistake in a given round, and back to the top of the level bucko. Doesn’t matter how far you got, you’re going all the way. At the start, I found this frustrating. After a fair share of rage-quits, I began to appreciate this mechanic a little more.

Each time I reset, I made it further into the level, knowing what to expect from the stampeding cows. I’d compare this gameplay loop to that of a rhythm game, where you eventually familiarize yourself with the steps so well that you activate muscle memory during play. The main difference is that in a rhythm game, you are often not in danger of being gored by a cow that has a hankering for human flesh.

Songs to Get You in the Moo’d

The Culling of the Cows features an original soundtrack comprised of seven songs. With titles like “Kill them all” and “Bovine Butchery” you can fully expect each piece to fit the mood for fending off a horde of zombie cows.

I often take video game music in stride, hardly hearing the accompaniment — so my attraction towards these zombie-mulching tunes surprised me. My movements followed the music, and my “rapid-click” strat soon developed its own rhythm.

For a game about side-scrolling, flash-style, zombie cow-killing, I felt thoroughly immersed. Not in the sense that I actually believed I was defending my farmland from a bunch of dumb rotting cows, but I got hooked ya know?

Bovine Butchering Bonanza!

A Little Rough Around the Edges

The Culling of the Cows is a well-rounded game, but exhibits some flaws that put me off:

  • One liners (dialogue)
  • Unforgiving Gameplay
  • Replay Value

Often during the game, your character will whip out a witty one liner, usually at random. I saw no correlation between what was happening in the game versus what was being said. You’ll likely hear them over and over as you restart rounds. This can be bothersome, especially when you’re first starting out in the game and wind up dying/restarting a lot.

The unforgiving gameplay can be difficult to work with. Although this didn’t dissuade me, I could understand how it’d be frustrating for others. Plus, the game lacks replay value. TCotC can be jumped in and out of with ease, but works best when played in small increments as opposed to lengthy sessions. However, some folks may disagree and could find great joy from marathoning through the entire game, and for that I say more power to ya.

Should You Play The Culling of the Cows? Salad Says: YES…with Limitations!

At the end of the day, I can honestly say that my time (both reviewing and playing) was well spent. The game left a lasting impression thanks to its cheesy, quirky charm. TCotC is a good game, but it’s also the type which you either love or hate. And yes, we deal in absolutes here Obi Wan.

If you have any doubts about whether this is up your alley, I would probably recommend against purchasing it for $9.99 on Steam. However, for a measly $0.75 you can pick up the game from Salad. And, The Culling of the Cows is certainly worth the price of admission in my humble opinion.

By Brandon Tepner

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