Developer: GMT Development Ltd.
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.5
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics/Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Given the name Arrow Mania, there are only a few things one can possibly expect. While my vision of seeing one sole arrow rapidly changing direction while I tried to lasso it into submission did not pan out, arrows did fly, and fly many, and fly far. Mania was not just present in the number of arrows I was letting loose, but also in the fact that I was a ball being pulled by magnets as I let loose my inner archer.

If the concept seems zany, its control is much easier to understand and grasp: press the arrows on the lower left or right of the screen and the magnets in those directions will pull the ball toward them. Swipe in the opposing direction for an arrow to fly and it will do so, even allowing the finger to hold it back for a bit to get the trajectory just right. Of course, it gets a bit more complex: birds fly by that penalize if shot, airplanes come by and drop bombs that will destroy the arrow-toting ball, and platforms have targets that must be shot to move into the path to victory, or to move the ball to a new platform.

Which means that while these new types of challenges slowly make their presence known (never too many new elements at once), the level design itself is where the core of the experience really lies. Sometimes this means that there is a puzzle with which to practice patience and restraint, while other times a quick finger and flick is what is needed. For instance five targets might be on the path of an elevator track and must all be hit in one pass.

Of course, it took me a while to get fairly comfortable. As is my wont, my first step was to jump into the tutorial that explained how to play to make sure I wouldn’t miss any finer points. What I was presented with was booting me out of the app to watch a YouTube video. While I suppose it is better than nothing, it also meant I wasn’t doing, which tends to make me frown at tutorials.

Levels themselves have quite a bit of variety not just in the puzzles they present, but also in their length. Stars are rewarded for time, and on normal, there was always a large buffer and I never found myself wanting to utilize the ability to go back and improve on my score. So, while there is some measure of replayability in a trackable score, its presence is not felt strongly enough to make much of a difference. Once a puzzle was done, I felt pretty comfortable in just moving on to the next without looking back.

So, for fans of quirky puzzle-action games that balance well between requiring the spot-on and frantic shot, Arrow Mania has quite a bit in its app-confines. It holds up under either longer or shorter play sessions without much fuss, though at times the puzzles can become difficult enough that a break is warranted.

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