How come I get to review all games featuring animal cruelty? I used to be the ninja game review guy, and not the guy associated with smacking furry creatures around. Anyway, all of you are probably familiar with Whac-A-Mole, and now the first officially licensed Whac-A-Mole has entered the App Store. There are dozens of similar games for a buck or even for free so why bother with a $1.99 Whac-A-Mole?
Well for one it is a complete package with good production values. It has four game modes where the classic mode is just what we expect. You whack moles, and there is a set number to smash before the timer runs out. Bonuses can be whacked as well in the shape of extra time, a quick baton and a heavy iron mallet. The bonus items bring up a mini game in above the five mole holes. You have to steer a car, time a moving arrow and move past obstacles. All of these are quite boring, but still you want to complete them to get the bonus. The iron mallet lets you whack even the grey helmeted moles with one whack instead of the ordinary two.
Follow the leader is basically a memory game where you have to smack moles in the correct order. A diversion from the main game, and I doubt it that anyone will have it as their favourite mode.
Finally there is a mastermind mode where you have to get the sequence correct by memorizing red and grey mole patterns.
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised about how fun Whac-A-Mole is. It is easy to get drawn into the wacky music, bright graphics and simple but responsive controls. At $1.99 it lacks the fundamental online functionality, and achievements needed to warrant a higher score. If future updates incorporate online high scores, and some sort of collection aspect I think Whac-A-Mole might be a hit.
Presentation and graphics
Super annoying music that really fits the game, and I refuse to turn it off. Whac-A-Mole should be played with this fast-paced happy music to really send your synapses into overload. The cute squeaking that you hear when you pound a mole on the head with your mallet is really satisfying.
A game based on only one game mechanic really needs to have good controls. Thankfully Whac-A-Mole has sensitive controls, and misses are down to me being slow and never because the game misses to register. Even though there are four different game modes you basically only whack moles, and after some whacking it gets tedious. To counter that I urge you to only play on hard as it keeps you on your toes.
The small bonus games that you get when you smack a clock or new weapon are too few(3), and boring. I would like to be able to turn them off completely as well as they slow down the otherwise frantic game play.
A game such as Whac-A-Mole really needs to have online high scores, unlockables and achievements. Just whacking moles for the fun of it is ok, but bragging rights are essential to keep you going back to the whacking. There are many casual games out there that are inferior in quality to Whac-A-Mole but get a large following due to good implementation of online functionally and collectables, for example Uggles. Three levels of difficulty available.
Superfun to play but it needs an injection of game life to get a strong recommendation. It is way better than all the clones out there at the moment so if you are really in need of Whac-A-Mole this is the one to get.