Hard Lines

Nokia practically invented gaming on mobiles when they debuted Snake on their phones (practically all of them) way back in 1997. So it's a bit weird, in a way, to be reviewing a game that is practically Snake, albeit on steroids, all these years later...

Hard Lines is a new title by Spilt Milk Studios, for iDevices. It's not native to iPad, though, so if you've got one of those around, you'll have to make do with a stretched version of the iPod / iPhone app. The best way to describe it, assuming you're familiar with both games in this comparison, is that it's like Snake got a Geometry Wars makeover. Not familiar with those games? No matter, read on...

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The game is packed with different modes, but in each of them you need to do essentially the same thing: control your snake (a thin, long, line) and prevent it hitting either another snake or a wall (which rims the screen) head-on. It moves perpetually onward so your only real controls are to turn left or turn right - that's it. This is accomplished via your choice of control methods, each of which involves touching the screen in some way. The one I found most agreeable sees you swiping in the direction you wish to turn, which you can accomplish anywhere on the screen.

The modes see you being challenged in various ways, which typically involve some combination of more enemies or pickups to collect. Some require you to keep your score up lest you run out of time, while others are simply about survival. The changes between the rules in each are generally slight but the impact on gameplay is significant.

Visually the game is solid, with a presentation that generally trends towards Geometry Wars in intent, if not up to that title's level of execution. It's kinda like drawing with light on graph paper made of... well, light. All griddy and glowy. One cool feature it delivers to great effect is the constant stream of text that's displayed over the "head" of your snake as you move. It's a weird thing to describe, pretty much about the same as it's a weird thing to observe. Sentences literally appear over your head, telling a story or otherwise advising you of things. It's weird but... ace.

Is it worth your time or, more importantly, money? At $2.59, it's pretty hard to debate anything other than an affirmative answer to that question. It's not the most amazing thing ever by any stretch of the imagination but if you like the idea of a suped-up Snake, with a bunch of modes, and don't want to lower yourself to lugging a dated mobile phone around with you, it's hard to beat.

"Does for "Snake" what Geometry Wars does for "Asteroids""
- Hard Lines
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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