Would you pay for a new version of the classic Snake for your iPhone? What if this version, Hard Lines, was one of the best variations on Snake ever, full of gameplay modes, pretty visuals and, believe it or not, humour?
Spilt Milk Studios' Hard Lines may not re-invent Snake, a game freely available on other mobile platforms, but it rethinks the game with six variations, some of which smack of light cycle battles from the arcade game Tron, some of which explore what a frenzied survival mode of Snake might play like, all of which are coated in a visual style that draws comparisons to an understated Geometry Wars.
There's no bold reinvention of Snake, just variations on its theme. Hard Lines includes, for example, a Time Attack mode that's a battle against the clock and Gauntlet mode, an endless stream of competing lines of light. Some are simple, dot-collecting competitions against yourself as you aim for higher scores. Occasionally, you'll snack on a power up, turning your beam of light into a beam of light killing machine.
Hard Lines offers three control modes - swipey, turny and tappy - depending on how you prefer to play your touchscreen games, with simple taps or swipes of the finger. Sometimes, the control limitations of the iPhone and iPod touch interfere with some of the more precise movements required, but its a short burst game, easy to give it another go.
Perhaps Hard Lines's most outstanding feature is its personality. The game's lines, including protagonist line Lionel, deliver snippets of dialogue, largely in jokes, snappy quips, pop culture references and memes. They're an amusing addition, helping to set Hard Lines apart. There are a few memorable digs against Twitter and Angry Birds, for example.
Hard Lines is currently $1.19 on iTunes, if you're looking for one of the prettier, more varied takes on Snake for your iOS device. It uses OpenFeint to power its leaderboards and is currently lacking in "retina display" support, but plays like a good Snake nonetheless.
Hard Lines [iTunes]