to make Whac-a-Mole into a game is like trying to
pass of an appetizer as the main course.
is just what you think it is - plus a little bit more.
If you don't what Whac-a-Mole is then I'm sure you
don't know what to think. That's why I'm here - to
do the thinking for you. You may have seen and played
this game in real life at carnivals and arcades where
fiberglass rodents pop their heads out of various
holes while the player smashes them with a fake, oversized
mallet. It's fun, to be sure, but it's not meant to
be played anymore than a handful of times. Transferring
this concept to a videogame required a lot of guts.
The result is not terrible but it's definitely mini-game
simple as the concept is, this is no Space Invaders
although traces of it are evident in the gameplay.
It will see its share of action with the younger crowd
but even the most obsessive of kids will quickly tire
of the gameplay in short order. It may get played
a little here and there but it won't inspire any marathon
competitive aspect will give it party status as the
top high scores are recorded for posterity - which
means that someone will always want to beat them and
be immortalized forever or at least until some new
gunslinger comes along and bests his or her high score.
A wireless multi-player mode lets contestants battle
it out head-to-head, requiring only one copy of the
enough Whac-a-Mole doesn't entirely suck. It's got
more depth than I expected, which isn't much but it's
got tiddlywinks beat. You won't be using a mallet
in this version. The stylus is your tool as you poke
at the critters instead of actually whacking them.
There are good and bad rodent to hit. Hit a plush
rodent and you will lose points. Then there are Ninja
and robber moles that will also steal your points.
This keeps you on your toes so you're not just riding
on automatic pilot tapping at everything that moves
like a hard-wired automaton.
puzzle mode offers more gameplay diversion. I was
quite impressed with how the gameplay concept lends
itself to such variations. It extends the replay value
a bit as it can be quite challenging and addictive.
It's not Tetris but it's still better than tiddlywinks.
The idea of this mode is to hit differently colored
moles in a pre-set pattern that is displayed at the
top of the screen. It's like Whac-a-Mole bingo. Occasionally
the background colors interfere with the colors the
moles leave behind. I do profess to having a bit of
a hard time differentiating closely shaded colors
so some of the levels were really difficult for me.
I know you care. Send me a flower.
the levels display a good deal of detail but the backgrounds
aren't interactive and fairly static. The moles are
well rendered with goofy personalities and smooth
animations. Coming to grips with the stylus is easy.
It's very accurate and responsive. When you tap one
of the little varmints, he's tapped. It's no mallet
but it's better than tiddlywinks. From the collision
detection to the framerate the mechanics are solid.
The tunes are upbeat and have a distinctive arcade
quality to them which seems a little too forced and
artificial in a home environment. It makes me think
that some things should just be left at the arcade.
with all the quality production values, it's hard
not to think of this game as a budget title. At $30
I would definitely recommend a rental first lest you
be tempted to give it the mallet treatment.