Oct 4, 2011
The witty Tron light cycles and Snake mashup, Hard Lines, has made its way to Android thanks to developer Spilt Milk Studios and Android development studio Jakyl, known for several ports to Android, including Spirit. Players control Lionel, a yellow line who loves to eat dots, crack other lines’ skulls, along with cracking wise. Players swipe to move around the level, picking up dots for bonus points, trying to get other lines to crash into the trail behind them, and trying not to crash into themselves! The trail does disappear after a certain distance, it’s not persistent like Tron. It doesn’t extend after eating dots like in Snake, except for the mode that plays like the classic Snake games. This mode is aptly entitled Snake. The other modes focus on survival in an arena with other lines roaming about with different rules in place; one mode only has dots pop up when enemies are killed, for example.
The game’s simple swipe-based controls work very well, and the gameplay is familiar enough for anyone to pick up and understand quickly. What’s interesting is that the other lines exist with the same rules; they will also eat dots, so it actually becomes a competition to get them. The various game modes present a great variety of gameplay, as well. The game’s sense of humor, largely provided through the random quips that the lines make, is just cheesy and quirky enough to be endearing. Tablet owners will be glad to know that the game supports “Extreme Mode” like the iPad version of the game does. The rules of each mode are identical, but the playing field is twice as wide and twice as long. This gets to be extremely crazy on modes like gauntlet where dozens of lines are on screen at once. Fans of the iOS version will be glad to know that the gameplay is identical in the Android version.
It is very difficult to tell which line is the player’s line, and which ones are the enemy lines, especially in modes where there are many lines on screen at once. There’s no OpenFeint support in the Android version at launch, so there’s no way to compete with friends for high scores like in the iOS version. This is hopefully something that will arrive in a future version of the game.While Jakyl prefers to just use stretching to fill up the screen, and I understand why they would do this, I still wish for some kind of option to display the game pillarboxed on wider displays. The various lines don’t look malformed, but text clearly is.
Fans of classic arcade games will get a kick out of Hard Lines, and its pick-up-and-play gameplay will have a wide appeal. For those who haven’t checked this out on iOS, pick this one up.