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Whac-A-Mole Review

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Developer: DC Studios Publisher: Activision
Release Date: September 27, 2005 Also On: None

You ever seen a licensed game that made you wonder, “Do they really expect that license to sell?” Such was my reaction when Activision initially released What-a-mole for the DS. So a few months ago when I found it at a low price, I decided to arouse my curiousity. After a long wait, other games being more important than it, I have finally found the time to give Whac-a-mole a try. Is it a game worth buying now that it can be found cheap? Read on to find out.

Graphically, Whac-a-mole is competent. The graphics, while simplistic, get done the job that they need to get done. You will not find any flashy graphical effects or anything of that type here, but what is here is not atrociously bad either. The sound is not anything too grand either, although the music is nice at times. Sound effects are very muted but that is good in a game that requires such quick thinking and lack of distraction. Overall, the aesthetics do not add much to this game, but this is the type of game to which they really could not add much.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of Whac-a-mole (a group which, hopefully, is quite small), allow me to explain it to you. In the real world, the player is given a hammer, moles come out of holes that are arranged in a gridlike pattern, and the player attempts to bop said moles on the head with the hammer before they retreat back into their holes. In the DS version, moles come out of holes that are arranged in a gridlike pattern, and the player attempts to tap them on the head with the stylus before they go back into their holes.

Does that sound like the basis of a depth-filled game with a lot of replay value? It really is not. Activision does a commendable job of trying to add depth to the concept by adding in various types of moles that can be whacked in addition to the normal moles and by adding a puzzle mode to the game. In the puzzle mode, you try to get certain patterns by whacking moles of certain colors in certain spots within the time limit instead of just whacking as many as you can within the time limit. This extra mode makes the game last a little longer, but not much. The game also boasts the capability for either single or multi-card multiplayer, but few and far between are likely to be the people that would actually want to play this game with you in all likelihood.

What we are left with then is a game that might remain fun for about ten minutes, but, regardless of Activision’s attempts to the contrary, this game just does not have enough depth to have much lasting value. Even with everything Activision added, it still feels like it should have been a minigame in some compilation of minigames or an unlockable minigame for some other game. Indeed, in such a form, a take on this concept was a good addition to Strawberry Shortcake: Strawberryland games, a version which actually rivals this in quality even while having other modes available as well. As cheap as you are likely to find Whac-a-mole now, it may be worth the short bursts of entertainment you can get from it, but that is your decision to make.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 5.5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 3
Final: 5.1
Written by Martin Review Guide