Lines of Mania (!)
Developer:Good Apps UG
Release Date:November 12, 2009
Summary:Lines of Mania is a crazy game of skill and strategy. The idea relies on an old game which already our grandparents and parents have played.
I felt the name of this game calls for an exclamation mark. Lines of Mania, by Good Apps UG, is a strategy game based on a game that’s been played for years on paper (the Mexcian derivative is “Las Lineas”, “The Lines”, or “Numeros,” “Numbers”, according to my girlfriend). It’s really, really simple: connect the numbers in sequence and don’t tread on the same path twice. Oh yeah, and you can pass through numbers unscathed on your way to victory. There is a timer, and you have to get it done before time runs out in order to move on. If you do it particularly fast, you earn a star, and unlock more scenarios. There are multiple modes of play: Single Player mode has 3 scenarios – Classic, Skill and Mania (I think you can figure out which does what); Multi-player allows you the same scenarios but you alternate connecting numbers with the other players – up to 4, all on the same phone; Draw mode allows you to … draw whatever you want in different colors. There’s also a tutorial mode that I found helpful.
Lines of Mania is great on paper, but it doesn’t stand its ground when held up to ridicule. What’s the problem? Well, I hate to say it, but the base of the game, connecting the dots, is the problem. The first and most obvious problem is that my fat man-fingers completely hide the line not allowing me to see anything I’m doing. The developer obviously knew this would happen, so they provide a little magnifying glass, the “Eye”, that shows what your line is doing at the foremost point. The problem with the Eye is that the area it shows is so small that it’s hard to judge exactly where you’re going and where you need to go. It’s turns out to be helpful but frustrating. The second problem is the response time is very bad. All the movements are accurately recorded, but there is a big time lag and it adds frustration to the point that I want to throw my iPhone. Not at anything in particular, I just want to hurl it and be done with the game.
I could expand on the complexity of the levels and the skill and strategy required, but it would be a waste: the game isn’t good enough to play beyond Classic mode, and even then it’s rough. There are some good concepts here, and the multi-player option could be really fun, but with the basic playability problems seen in Lines of Mania, it’s essentially a waste of time. In the end, Lines of Mania is great upon appearance and flashiness – the graphics are very good, the game is attractive, I want to play it – but the playing experience makes it so Revifrustrating that it’s just plain unplayable.