Spooky Hoofs ($0.99) by Gamesmold sports one of the coolest art styles we’ve ever seen in a running game for the iPhone.
The game is a bit processor intensive, but with a creepy arcade feel and plenty of on the fly innovation, the app is easily one of the best time killers around.
From the ground up, Spooky Hoofs focuses on being darker than the “Addams Family.” The game’s art style is somewhere between Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery and Castlevania Puzzle, while the backgrounds have a frightening appeal to them. Likewise, the sprites themselves are detailed and grimy, creating a unique tone for Spooky Hoofs’ fast-paced gameplay.
The app has players directing a renegade chariot using two simple on-screen buttons. The button on the left controls whiplashes, which make the horses go faster (and can even do damage to in-air baddies) while the right side button makes them jump.
It’s a simple offering, but one that’s complicated by in-game obstacles. Users must avoid various enemies that block their path, as well as dozens of gaps in the terrain. If players smash into too many bogies, or fall down any of the available pits, the game sends them back to the home screen.
Concept aside, the developers have done a fantastic job keeping the game interesting. Running games are notoriously repetitive, but Spooky Hoofs has really upped the bar with what’s possible in the genre.
The game comes loaded with three unique power-ups that add immediate spice to the mix, while the classic arcade style boss fights keep players alert. There’s nothing more exciting than squaring off against a 10 foot arachnid, a fact Spooky Hoofs’ developers have taken great pains to exploit.
For all its innovation, though Spooky Hoofs is a total energy hog: The game ran slowly on my iPod 2 occasionally even choking as I jumped a large gap. The game is incompatible with any iPhone older than a 3GS, making it perhaps too processor heavy for many of our readers.
However, for those that can run the title (or ignore the in-game lag) Spooky Hoofs offers a lot of engaging gameplay at a cheap $0.99. The game’s unique artwork and tone create a world on their own, while the boss fights and power-ups add more than enough fresh air to keep the user’s attention.
If you’re a fan of the genre, or of really creepy iPhone titles, Spooky Hoofs is a must-have.