Week in Mobile: Men's Room Mayhem and Warhammer Quest
Every Saturday here on GameZone, we’ll review a handful of new titles released for iOS and Android and update you on the biggest news we covered.
Men’s Room Mayhem
Public bathrooms are a hectic place. Brawls break out, and there are never enough stalls. A man could lose an eye stepping foot in one.
At least, that’s how Ripstone (which published Kyntt Underground) and Phil Gaskell depict them in Men’s Room Mayhem (99 cents for iOS and Android — and out on PlayStation Vita, too), a game about practicing good restroom etiquette at the risk of physical harm. You act as assistant and bouncer for the patrons who walk in, confused about whether they need a urinal or a stall and all too eager to bump into a fellow guy and start a fistfight. Players guide them out of each other’s paths, show them where to do their business, direct them to the sink to wash their hands if the room isn’t too crowded, and then send them out the door.
Simple, right? Not at all. Games keep going, wave after wave, until players lose control of their guests. If the men make a mess on the floor (just pee, thankfully) or get blood everywhere from punching in each other’s faces, that adds to a counter. Reach six accidents, and it’s game over.
Unlocking achievements grants you access to new locations, which bring a new twist to the gameplay — such as women who use the wrong bathroom and cause the men they encounter to stand still in fear or nervousness, or something.
It’s not enough variety, though, to save the game from feeling routine after a while. The novelty of watching fights happen or scrubbing down the floors and fixtures in between waves becomes old fast, and using your finger to rub the bathroom clean is tiring, especially since you have so little time to do it.
Adapting certain game genres to touch devices can be challenging, especially when they involve a considerable amount of strategy. Warhammer Quest ($4.99 for iOS) is the exception. It simplifies complicated mechanics that even good games, like Battle Dungeon: Risen, couldn’t whittle down completely.
The title from Rodeo Games (Hunters) uses a streamlined system of taps to usher players through dungeons. Tapping on a character highlights his possible path of movement, and clicking on a space moves him there. You can quickly do this with all four of your party members — a wizard, archer-like wood elf, marauder, and dwarf are all free — even if they haven’t finished relocating yet. This speeds up progress through rooms.
The actual battling follows, which means players must decide where to position their characters before they make them perform melee attacks by double-tapping (spells, items, and abilities don’t adhere to this rule). The elf can execute a melee attack and then target enemies from afar; the wizard can heal or cast an offensive spell in addition to doing a regular attack; the marauder and dwarf can both strike multiple times and deal heavy amounts of damage. And if a character knocks out an enemy in one shot, he’ll turn to hit any ones that are next to them in a line. Learning how to maximize these advantages can give you the upper hand in combat — especially since you always get the first turn.
The rest plays out like a tabletop role-playing game, which is what Warhammer Quest is based on. Panels of narration and dialogue interrupt the action, presenting new scenarios that introduce new quests or twists in gameplay (affecting stats or gold, for example), so that dungeons never quite feel the same (although some sequences are repeated), and even trips to towns and other locations are more unique. These are adventures your party is embarking on; every road and potential decision conceals possible danger. This happens across 7 settlements, 9 major “red” quests, and plenty of grind-worthy “white” quests that pop up on the map.
However, most of the time, these cutscenes punish your characters rather than help them. This even happens in towns when you’re trying to visit the marketplace (to buy and sell), the temple (where you can pray in the hope of acquiring a temporary ability — like a lottery), or training grounds, which is where you pay gold — yes, you have to pay — to level up when your characters gain enough experience. As if that isn’t penalty enough.
But the gameplay is still addictive even despite these flaws. Viewing your generously sized (!) inventory is as simple as turning the tablet sideways to portrait mode, and you can fast-forward an enemy’s turn for quicker rounds. The characters work together as a well-rounded team, and there’s a lot of depth in play — even if the game could benefit from more enemy variety (you’ll fight a lot of orcs, spiders, and rats).
Some might not like how battles can easily go either way. Your characters can miss a lot for no reason, or their attacks can connect nearly every time — as the invisible dice rolls that determine their outcome are random indeed and sometimes unfair. But I think that only pushes you to prepare a better strategy. Unfortunately, if a warrior falls on an enemy’s turn and you fail to revive him (with healing items/spells) on your turn, he’s out for the rest of the dungeon, and he won’t gain any experience even if your other characters succeed. That can set you back a lot; experience solely depends on how many enemies your characters kill, so weaker warriors may have a harder time catching up.
But these are minor inconveniences in what’s one of the most seamless and robust RPGs on mobile devices.
These games were reviewed on an iPad Mini.
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