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Hard Lines Review
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Hard Lines, a Snake-style effort from Spilt Milk Studios, is now available from the app store. A blast of nostalgia from days gone by, Hard Lines improves upon the winning formula by offering multiple game modes, multiple input methods, and a rocking soundtrack to boot.

Hard Lines Pros:

  • Expands on Snake gameplay by adding multiple game modes
  • Variety of simple control schemes
  • Great retro graphics
  • Techno soundtrack and quirky quips add character
  • OpenFeint integration for global leaderboards

Hard Lines Cons:

  • Quip text can obscure your view

Hard Lines provides the same great gameplay that we’ve grown accustomed to for years. You control a yellow line (named Lionel, of course) that is always in motion. By swiping or tapping the screen, you direct Lionel to move left, right, up, or down. He turns at 90-degree angles, and his tail always follows the exact same path as his head. Glowing Blips appear on-screen, offering a tasty treat for Lionel to gobble up by passing through them. Run into himself or a wall and it’s game over. Your goals are to eat as much as possible, avoid obstacles, and kill other lines by forcing them to run into you. This updated version contains 6 game modes: Survival, Dead Line, Time Attack, Pinata, Gauntlet, or Snake.

In Survival, you attempt to kill lines and stay alive for as long as you can. Dead Line sees you running up the score as much as possible within a strict 3-minute timeframe. Deaths will simply kill your multiplier and cost you time, but your score continues to build until time runs out. Time Attack gives you the opportunity to score big, as you begin with a very high multiplier. As time ticks away, the multiplier diminishes. Killing lines and eating blips will give you multiplier boosts, which keep you alive. Once the multiplier runs out, you’re done. Pinata is all about killing lines and gobbling up the remains, a survival of the fittest metaphor that’s quite fun. Gauntlet pretty much floods the screen with lines and tests your ability to avoid certain death. Snake is the classic game, where you wend your way around the level, eating, growing, and doing your best to avoid yourself as you grow to immense proportions. The variety of game types keeps things fresh and the tried-and-true gameplay is just as addicting as it’s ever been.

Graphically, Hard Lines employs a very minimalistic look, with thin, pastel lines streaming around a rectangular arena with a grid overlay to assist in lining up your moves. The edible bits are nothing more than tiny amorphous blobs. The snake animation is very smooth and hairpin turns and quick cutoff moves keep things exciting. The soundtrack is upbeat techno and it adds a layer of cool to the game. The control schemes allow you to choose to swipe in the desired direction, tap the screen edge for the desired direction, or tap left/right to turn the snake left or right from its current orientation. The controls are spot-on and simple to master.

Replay value is very good, with OpenFeint integration for global leaderboards to compare your best efforts against those of other players around the world. The multiple game modes require differing strategies that can take some time to hone, and the snakes actually spout a lot of text-based dialogue that adds some character, charm, and dashes of humor to the game. Currently on sale for $0.99 (regularly $2.99), Hard Lines is a 5-Dimple deal that should not be passed up.

Hard Lines Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-07-01T00:26:22+00:00 rating 5.0 out of 5

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