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Hard Lines iPhone Review

Posted on 26th Jun 2011 at 10:44 by David Hing with 9 comments

David Hing
Back when mobile phones were still thought of as a new idea, Nokia's 3210 was highly sought after in many circles for its built in version of the highly addictive game Snake. Fast forward a decade, and Hard Lines is attempting to be a worthy successor to that classic title.

The mechanics of Hard Lines are simple. With simple directional strokes of your finger, you steer a line around the screen towards randomly spawning markers, accruing points while avoiding other lines that enter from the sides of the screen.

Slick and neatly designed, Hard Lines is clearly influenced by the Light Cycles from Tron, yet it doesn't limit itself to that one style of play; there are several variations. In some modes, you gain points by getting opposing lines to crash into you or the walls; in others you race against the clock, or just try to last for as long as possible. There are also some good bonuses, such as the occasional power up that enables you to crash through any other competing lines without killing yourself.

Hard Lines iPhone Review iPhone Game: Hard Lines Review
Click to enlarge

The gameplay is occasionally made overly complicated, however, via the addition of dialogue that bikes may utter in the middle of a match. This appears as a single line of text and, while it's often funny, it's usually just a distraction that obscures your view.

Aside from this, though, the balancing is beautiful and the game manages to be both punishing and forgiving at once. Each line is only a single pixel wide, for example, but you only need to pass near an item on the screen to collect it, avoiding any frustrating situations where you might end up circling it forever. Not only this, but the very narrow nature of your line means the game can afford to throw a lot of competing lines at you at any one time. In particular, the Gauntlet mode continually spawns large numbers of other lines rapidly, resulting in an intense session that's highly satisfying when it goes your way.

Verdict: Hard Lines is a well designed, easily controlled, multifaceted version of Snake with enough new material and creativity behind it to stop it being called a straightforward clone.

Hard Lines is available from the AppStore for 59p / 99c.

9 Comments

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veato 26th June 2011, 15:03 Quote
It looks like a fancy version of Snafu (Intellivision)

For anyone too young to remember: http://www.intellivisiongames.com/bluesky/games/credits/action.html#snafu
Aragon Speed 27th June 2011, 09:43 Quote
I must be getting old. I can't fathom why anyone in their right mind would want to play a game on a phone.

The buttons are small and fiddley, the screen is minute, and most of the games seem to be utterly uninteresting. It seems like a endurance test of frustration to play games on a phone.

About the only game I have seen on a phone that caught my interest (and I wished an upgraded version was available for the PC) was the game software developers one (which I cannot remember the correct name for), and not being rich my phone hasn't even the facility to play games anyway.
Tyrmot 27th June 2011, 11:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aragon Speed
I must be getting old. I can't fathom why anyone in their right mind would want to play a game on a phone.

Maybe... because you don't always have your PC in your pocket?
BioSniper 27th June 2011, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aragon Speed

The buttons are small and fiddley, the screen is minute, and most of the games seem to be utterly uninteresting. It seems like a endurance test of frustration to play games on a phone.

You make it sound like you've not seen modern smartphones, or in fact phones in the last 5 years :P

While I generally agree that a lot of games are just not suited to phones e.g. FPS just don't work well on a touch screen as your fat thumbs (or is it just me that has fat thumbs?) tend to cover a good chunk of the screen, games like this seem ideally suited.
May have to take the punt at 59p
PingCrosby 27th June 2011, 15:10 Quote
I blame Garcia Hotspur.
Woodspoon 28th June 2011, 01:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aragon Speed

About the only game I have seen on a phone that caught my interest (and I wished an upgraded version was available for the PC) was the game software developers one (which I cannot remember the correct name for), and not being rich my phone hasn't even the facility to play games anyway.

That would be Game Dev Story
yes it is rather good.
rogerrabbits 30th June 2011, 03:19 Quote
Love gaming on my iPhone, but I'm tired of all the crappy little puzzle games. wish it had more PROPER games. Starting the Final Fantasy series was a big excitement for me. But games like that are few and far between. I find it sad that the average gamer these days is content with stuff like Doodle Jump and Angry Birds.
kelmannen 30th June 2011, 10:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
walloftext
Completely agree with you, lot of games that have used the "auto generator phone game creating machine" same games just different skin >.< try majesty, i thought it was a nice breath of air =) (dunno if you can get it for iphone tho, i run android.)
rainbowfication 30th June 2011, 15:01 Quote
game dev story was great and they just released a new game yesterday pocket academy

http://itunes.apple.com/app/id432080204
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