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Saturday, 7 January 2012

Top 11 of '11 (iOS). Number 5 - Hard Lines.

There are so many games released on the App Store these days that if you haven't got a big name or publisher behind you, it must be a bit of a nightmare to get noticed. It seems to take a fair amount of luck, or maybe being in the right place at the right time. Occasionally, though, just having an excellent game is enough.

Hard Lines is an excellent game. It's another very simple affair, at least on paper, although a number of variations give it masses of longevity. Hard Lines is a cross between the classic Snake game, and the light cycles from Tron. That might sound a bit dull, but this game has tons of personality...

Nice to see Al Pacino made his way in here...

You might wonder how a game featuring a few coloured lines can have any personality, but you just play it and you'll see. Every snakey-Tron-type-line-thing that comes on screen "says" something, and almost every line is either funny or geeky enough to get you grinning.

There are six game modes in Hard Lines. You get the classic Snake, where the more you eat, the bigger you get. That can go on a bit, so to stop you from getting bored, your snake tells jokes on the way around. It's quite bizarre, but I can no longer imagine playing a snake game without it.

I'm sorry to hear that. Soon, I'll make you dead.

There's a Survival mode, which is self-explanatory. DeadLine is a mode where you have three minutes to score as highly as you can. This mode forces you to be more aggressive in the pursuit of high scores. Time Attack puts fifteen seconds on the clock, and you have to pick up the dots to add time. Other snakes roam the arena though, trying to force you away. It's a really tough challenge, and a welcome addition.

The other modes are Gauntlet, where other snakes are constantly teeming onto the screen. There's not much room for manoeuvre here, and it's only a matter of time before you're boxed in and killed. The final mode is Pinata, where you must "Kill them all and NOM their entrails. KILL THEM!". Killing a snake leaves behind a trail of dots which should be eaten (picked up) for points. You need to be alert if you want to score highly... any killed snake leaves its bits behind, whether you've killed it or another snake did, so be ready to swoop in and pick them up.

No. You're not. Trust me.

Hard Lines could have failed in so many ways. It could have been dull, for starters, but it plainly isn't. It could have played horribly, especially on a touch screen, but the swipe controls work tremendously well. The six game modes are all enjoyable in their own right. Some modes last longer than others, so you can pick and choose depending on how much time you've got available.

It just goes to show that you don't always need an original concept. If you can take something that's been done to death and give it a twist or a real shot in the arm, then people will go for it. Hard Lines is the best Snake game there has ever been. It might even be the best six Snake games there have ever been. I bought it for 69p, but at the time of writing it's free. Free. Go and get it.

1 comment:

  1. I met the guy who made this at a conference I went to recently. Nice guy and suitably grounded even after all the success of this game.