How does Namco’s re-release of Mappy for the iPhone fair up against the demands of the modern gamer?
The simple answer is, it doesn’t, but it’s not to say that Mappy isn’t a bit of a timeless gem in it’s own right. Essentially it takes the barebones of the Pacman formula then presents it in a cat and mouse setting. Those of you who have played this game back in the day will probably remember the platform on which they played it. For me it was on the ultimate battery hog, Sega’s Game Gear, found in a 101 games cartridge.
The game features a police mouse called Mappy that has to venture through a house littered with stolen goods taken by a gang of cats known as Mewkies. Your aim is to collect all the stolen goods, traversing up and down the house using the trampolines distributed throughout the level, all whilst avoiding the thieving felines.
In an attempt to hinder these cat burglars you can use doors to hit them down and special doors to eliminate them from the stage completely. The special flashing doors, known as ‘microwave doors’ can be opened from any distance whilst regular ones need to be activated within a close range. Take note of which side these doors open (indicated by the side the door handle is on) because this is a crucial time saver as getting knocked down by an opening door will leave you open to getting caught. You get 3 lives before your score is reset but continues appear to be infinite. Bonus stages consist of a cat free house, full of balloons that you’ve got to collect before the timer runs out or your trampolines break.
The game has the classic 3 difficulty levels, from easy to difficult. Difficult being old skool, bash your head against the wall hard, and easy being a steady climb through the levels.
The second game mode called Scramble gives you a two minute timer to achieve the highest score possible. You’re also introduced to several power ups like invincibility Star, added time, and fish to distract the cats to name a few. You can share you’re high score through Game Center and Twitter.
The game gives you a choice of 4 control options:
Virtual Stick and Left and Right arrows, pretty self explanatory. Flick, where you gesture on the screen which direction you want Mappy to run, not the most practical option when you want the quick responses that virtual stick and the arrows offer. Navigate is the most impractical of the 4 options. You tap on the screen where you want Mappy to end up, but in this mode Mappy doesn’t take into account the Mewkies nor will he open the doors.
I’m not sure the game will appeal to the newer generation of high demand gamers with it’s 8-Bit graphics, and awfully repetitive soundtrack, coupled with little improvement over the original. It doesn’t stand much of a chance than of being noticed beyond gamers looking for a nostalgic fix. This in mind, for those discovering Mappy for the first time, I’d give the game 3 stars, but for those rediscovering a classic will find 4 stars a better suit. I can only give the one score though, so the middle ground of 3.5 stars it is.