“ Manufacturer: Activision / Genre: Action & Adventure / Release Date: 2006 „
Remember that game in the arcade where you had a large and foam filled mallet and eagerly waited for mole to pop up out of their hole only for you to go and bash them back in it again? Well this is the DS version, with a bit of a difference. Instead of a mallet you have a stylus and instead of bashing them you tap them.
There are two different games and five levels of difficulty to choose from.
This is based on the traditional arcade game, where you have to strike enough moles to reach a pre-determined minimum score within a specific time limit.
Strike a 'normal' mole for 10 points and a golden mole for 100 points however if you strike a 'fuzzy' mole then 10 points are deducted for each one hit.
Unlike the arcade game there are presents that periodically appear during the game. Tap one of these and it is opened. If you're lucky the present will contain a clock that freezes time allowing you to have a 'free spell' of mole bashing to help you reach the target. The present may also contain a x2 feature, whereby the points achieved for striking the moles will be doubled for a short spell.
If you are unlucky then it will contain a trap whereby the main game screen is replaced by a further screen showing a cartoon image of a mole with a cannon for a few seconds. You will return to the main screen but time will be lost meaning you have to work faster and more accurate to achieve the target score.
The puzzle game is where different coloured moles randomly pop up over the grid. It is your job to strike 3 or 4 (depending on the level) of the same coloured mole in a row in the grid. The computer determines the colour of moles and where they will appear on the grid so you may complete it, or you may not complete it. I never quite got to grips whether there is a way of manipulating it since I found this mode really boring and tedious.
This game fully utilises the touch screen and the stylus. The directional pad and buttons are not used at all.
The concept of this game is really simple. Wait until a mole pops up out of its hole and tap it with the stylus. There will be multiple moles popping up around the same time, and if they are not struck within a certain time period they will disappear again, so you do have to prioritise the order to strike the moles in order to achieve the best score.
Whilst this game starts off very easy it gets very difficult very quickly. The latter stage of each level gets ridiculously difficult to the stage where it is more of a game of chance than a game of skill to reach the minimum score. You will end up relying upon the number of golden moles (for higher points), the number of x2 (for more points) and the number of clocks (to freeze time) to complete the stage. If the computer does not give you enough of these then you will not complete the level, no matter how quickly you can bash the moles, and have to repeat the stage over and over again.
The graphics are simple, cartoony and fun but that is what this game is about. The colours are bright, vivid and sharp as they should be, although there is room for improvement given the processing capabilities of the DS.
The sound is dire at best. There is no real purpose to the sound and it adds nothing to the game play at all.
Personally, I think this game is best played with the sound turned off.
****Price and availability****
I rented the version I played and it cost me £1. At the time of writing this game is available on the internet for £20.33 (brand new from Games-stock.com) and £10.43 (used from Tradeyourstuff.co.uk).
If you are thinking of buying this game then, as always, I would recommend carrying out an internet search to get the best deal.
Personally, I cannot see the point of this game. The original arcade machine relies on good hand eye co-ordination and speed in order to strike the moles. There was only ever one mole appearing at any one time and it was actually a skill to hit the mole. It was always funny watching men play this game since it appeared that the harder they hit the mole the better, and because of this 'bravado' they missed a lot of the moles.
There is no sense of purpose to this game at all. In the arcade it was to score the highest number of points, and the highest score was always displayed enabling you to see what to beat. This game does not do that. If you reach the minimum score in the allotted time then you progress to the next level. It would be better if the level remained the same and your score was displayed and you then had to try and beat that score. This format could at least give rise to a bit of competition where you could challenge your mates.
There is no real skill in this game. This game is not even fun to play and the fact that it gets to the point where you are reliant on luck, and what presents the computer decides to give you, to complete the minimum score is stupid. What is the point in this?
I gave this game to my five year old nephew to play and even he got bored of it after 5 minutes.
I would not recommend this game at all, even if it was in a bargain bin for £1 or you had the chance to rent it, like I did. I am pleased I did not waste any money buying it.