Being married with children can be hard work, really hard work. HAXX, the hero of iDroidMania, manages to get his work as a farmer to work quite well with the responsibilities of being a husband and father. That is until the day his entire family is kidnapped by an evil villain called BAD RAMM. HAXX wows to never rest until he gets his family back.
You get to play as HAXX in this platforming game. HAXX is a rather agile droid for whom running, jumping and swinging are second nature. Sadly the controls of iDroidMania lets HAXX down big time. You can choose to play with either touch controls or a combination of touch and tilt. Using tilt to move is useless no matter what level of sensitivity I set it to, platformers demand quicker movement than tilting the iPhone can cope with. The touch controls are dodgy as well, multitouch only works occasionally. Too many times I fall to my death when the game won’t let me jump, steer right and use the grappling hook at the same time. Many levels demand those kind of moves to progress, and it is frustrating beyond belief to die on the second level because I can’t get past a small section with the grappling hook.
Of course I have had to invest some time into this game when it won’t let me control HAXX the way the levels demand. The problem is just as evident when trying to kill an enemy on a ledge above you. Jumping up and shooting should not be a problem but sadly it is. Either I am standing still shooting thin air or I am jumping without shooting letting the enemy poke my life away. The further I progress in the game the harder levels become. That is not because enemies become harder, there is just more of them. Seeing as it only takes one of those critters getting cheap shots in on me to kill me. You can understand that death comes frequently when there are more of them. Once you have been hit you flash and are invincible. This period is really short, and the game doesn’t respond when I try to take this second to attack. It always ends up being me that flashes again standing there like an immobile jackass.
It is the same with the boss battle I have encountered. The boss rolls like a ball at me, and all I have to do is to jump to avoid him. And look and behold the droid standing still taking damage as I poke the jump button to no avail. I love my iPhone, had it been a Wii game the Wiimote had been hurled far away. Now all I have is to press the home button with authority, and at least it gives some small satisfaction.
This game used to be called iDroids(Nigel had a sneak peak at it here) , and I know there was a lite version out but there is none today. Cynical as I am, I am guessing that the removal of the lite version was because they got no sales when people encountered the broken controls. The version I have reviewed is 1.01, and it made HAXX a bit more agile but didn’t fix the controls.
I have had this game for several weeks, and still I haven’t managed complete more than 36 percent. Not for lack of trying, and I want to follow the story of HAXX. It isn’t that great but still one of the better stories found in an iPhone platformer with humour and warmth.
The graphics are quite good, overall the game has got high production values. HAXX moves like a droid on a mission with a good set of animations. The still images presenting the story have lots of personality, and I feel compelled to see more of them. Loading times are quite long for an iPhone game.
Enemies are somewhat boring in design, and quite incoherent. Slime monsters, zombies and garbage cans aren’t the minions I would expect a computer related villain like BAD RAMM would employ. The underwater level is the best so far when it comes to suiting enemies with evil sharks and sea urchins.
I really enjoy the music, as it is well-written and well-produced instrumental electronic music. Sound effects are ok, nothing fancy. The game fades away your own music.
I think I have covered the unresponsive controls already, and having to write about them again just angers me. There is an underwater level where HAXX swims, which works really well. There I got something positive to say at least.
Seeing I haven’t completed more than 36 percent in the hours I have put into it, there is a whole lot of frustrating gamelife to it. I guess it is would be completed in three hours with working controls. There is an arcade mode where you can replay levels you have unlocked in story mode to get higher score.
There are online leader boards available if you have a Wi-Fi connection. Having completed 36 percent I am currently at ninth place in the global charts, I guess most people give up earlier than me then.
Broken controls totally RAM the score down to two stars. Sad as the game looks good, has an uplifting soundtrack and an interesting and somewhat amusing story.